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Heston's Feast - Channel 4

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8 Reviews

Daring dishes on the menu include an entirely edible garden with insects, 24 blackbirds baked in a pie, a Trojan Hog with edible intestines and an unusual ‘ejaculating’ cake.

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      30.04.2010 16:33
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      Great show

      Heston's Feast is a series of food programs on channel 4. The show follows Heston Blumenthal as he prepares extravagant and strange meals for a host of celebrities. Blumenthal is well known for being an extremely creative chef that mixes science with food and is famous for dishes like snail porridge and parsnip cereal. His restaurant, The Fat Duck named best restaurant in the world in 2005. If anybody saw his Little Chef show then be warned, Feasts is nothing at all like that.

      Feast shows Blumenthal recreating recipes from different periods in time or themes. Past shows have included Regency, Gothic (which aired 27th April), Victorian and Tudor. Each episode, he tries to take the ideas and trends of food at that time and turn it into something exciting by mixing them with newer ideas.

      In each show, Blumenthal goes through the different stages of making his wonderful feast. As well as showing how the final dish was made, we get to see the ideas and history behind them. It is good to see that not all of his ideas work out and I like to see how he then turns them around. Not totally confident with his efforts, the public are sometimes asked to try his attempts first. In the past, the public have been asked to try things such as dormouse and turtle soup. If it was me, I would definitely try anything that he cooked even if I didn't like the sound of it at first.

      Watching Blumenthal and his kitchen team creates such strange dishes is a fascinating process to see. The kitchen seems to be a mix between a regular kitchen and a scientists lab. What I like most about this part is being able to see everything that goes into each dish and the techniques that are used because a lot of them aren't anything that you would normally associate with normal TV cooking shows.

      Some scenes are quite hard to watch at times when it comes to the butchering of animals as well as the outcome of certain dishes. In the gothic episode he recreated Frankenstein's monster with a replica skeleton and different meats to make up the bulk. Another was in the Roman feast where an animal was roasted and split open. The insides came pouring out but they weren't real of course, the were the meal! The celebrities are normally so shocked with each dish and trying to decide what the food actually is becomes a game between them. Sometimes, they get quite squeamish because of the thought of what they will be eating but even after some protesting, I have never seen anyone refuse to at least try something.

      What I love most about this show is that it is cooking with a difference. Unlike other TV chef's shows, I doubt there is anything on here that we could try at home and that is what makes it so interesting. Blumenthal himself is a fantastic character and a pleasure to watch. I love that he doesn't mind describing himself as a mad scientist as well as a chef. He comes across as such a nice guy and so different from other TV chefs. He doesn't swear or shout like Gordon Ramsey or isn't like Nigella or Jamie. His nice guy attitude, along with his creativity and crazy concoctions are what make me watch this show. I think if this was done by anyone else then it just wouldn't be anywhere near as good or interesting.

      The show is being shown on channel 4, Tuesdays at 9pm.

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        28.04.2010 23:20
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        A TV cookery show like no other

        I happened across Heston's Feast by accident one evening. When I saw it listed in the TV schedules I had just assumed it would be another standard cookery programme, which I can live without, so hadn't tuned in on purpose, but on catching a glimpse I was hooked.

        Standard cookery programme are words that don't really go with Heston's Feast. Each programme is centred around a dinner party with 6 "celebrity" guests, hosted by Heston Blumenthal. Heston is a complete mad hatter type chef, who is a mixture of a chemist, mad scientist and chef.

        The dinner parties have a different theme each week - from gothic horror to Willy Wonka. The scene is set by the room decoraration, which is completely transformed from week to week. Heston then concocts 4 dishes, appetiser, starter, main course and pud to fit the theme.

        The work and attention to detail that goes into each dish is quite amazing. Heston researches the history of each dish and the finds ways to make the dish delicious and look fantastic. The dishes are not for the faint hearted though - last night's gothic horror feast included lots of real blood - yuck!

        Heston always seems to seek out the most unsual things possible to eat. One on of the last season's shows, he served whale vomit - his guests seemed to be enjoying it until it was announced exactly what they were eating.

        The dishes aren't all squeamish though - some are truly magical - at the end of the fairy tale feast, Heston had made a Hansel and Gretal gingerbread house large enough for the guests to get into - and boy did they enjoy gorging themselves on the sweet treats!

        Heston is great in this show - he presides over the whole thing brilliantly, concocting his dishes and then watching his guests and their reactions on CCTV. Heston seems to really get a thrill out of seeing his guests enjoy his dishes and the whole experience, and when his diners don't quite in the spirit (ie perhaps the whale vomit wasn't really for them) he gets so disappointed!

        I love watching this show - it is so innovative, and I really enjoy seeing what Heston is going to come up with. True the diners are more D list than A list, but Heston is the real star of the show, so who needs real celebs??

        If you want to indulge, catch the rest of the season on Tuesday nights at 9pm on Channel 4.

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          15.04.2010 20:11
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          Hugely entertaining, worth a watch!

          Hestons Feasts is a series in which Chef Heston Blumenthal, best known for weird and wacky dishes such as Snail Porridge and Baon and Egg Ice Cream, seeks to recreate recipes from periods in the past along fantastic themes.

          Take this weeks episode, which aired on Tuesday. In this particular episode, Heston picked the regency period, and coupled it with the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, who published thier tales in the same time period.

          The regency period itself was a time of feasting, and over-indulging. Gout was a fashionable disease as only the affluent could afford to eat so well, and England was ruled by the Prince Regent - a man so fat that rhymes were made about him, and he was affectionately (or perhaps not so affectionately) referred to as the Prince of Whales.

          But what four course meal could Heston create that would combine both the lavish extravagance of the Regency era with the fantasic worlds in fairytales. Well, how about a main course of cock's testicles coated to look like big jelly beans, encased in an egg coated with powdered real gold leaf. Thats just one of the courses.

          In each show, you are shown the various stages of the dish - from Heston testing out and then adapting various recipes, and from him trialling them on the general public. In past shows I've seen him asking various members of the public to eat Dormouse,Cocks Testicles, and Turtle Soup, and I have to say watching a little old lady easy a chicken testicle and say it was delicious was the highlight of the show this Tuesday .

          We get to see dishes in their experimental stages, with Heston in his kitchen (although I tend to think of it more as a lap) experimenting with odd recipes, bizarre equipment, and strange combinations . Some of the techniques he uses are fascinating, although most are, I feel, a little beyond the scope of an ordinary kitchen.

          The best bits of the show though are when the guests, a random selection of "Celebrities", most of whom I've never heard of, get to eat the meals. Cue squeals of delight as puddings ejaculate and jelly gets its wobble enhanced by the inclusion of a vibrator (this particular dessert was from the Victorian Feast, vibrators being commonly used at the time to treat hysteria in women) followed by slightly tense faces as the guests find out what they've been eating . This is quite funny, and really quite justified in many cases, although I can't help thinking that if something tasted good before you knew it was a cocks testicle, then you shouldn't let finding out what it is spoil it for you.

          There is no doubt that this show is entertaining, not least because you are watching someone put something that most would consider at worst vile, and at best odd, into their mouths. And there is no denying at all that Heston is an immensely talented and creative chef - although I think I'd probably wimp out of an invite to one of his feasts in favour of something 'normal' to eat.

          This show is a great watch - fun, educational in parts and mad as a hatter in others. 5 stars.

          This show airs on Channel 4 on Tuesdays at 9PM. Next weeks treat is a Titanic themed feast, and I can't waid to see what weird and wondeful dishes he cooks up .

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            01.12.2009 23:30
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            Great fun

            A foodie who received her BA in a joint history and English degree, I find 'Heston's Feast' an absolute pleasure! Each episode begins with Heston justifying his focus on the episode's designated period - whether it was a love of reading Dickens as a child for the Victorians, or a desire to explore the gluttony and madness of the Romans. He then spends the majority of the episode preparing for the titular feast - often trying out the historically accurate recipes first, and then adjusting the flavours to suit the modern tongue.

            For instance, in the Roman episode, he starts out by following a recipe by Apicius for a custard made of calf's brain, rose petals and garum (substituting a Southeast Asian fish paste for the salty fish Roman 'ketchup'). He follows this up with making, from scratch, garum - or, lacking the exact fish the Romans had, as close an approximation as he could. A highlight of this trial is watching him vacuum filter the fish guts - a great insight into the man behind the Fat Duck!

            Having found Apicius' original recipe unsuitable for today's palette, he thoroughly Blumenthals it, creating a more appetising custard from his home-made garum to be served alongside panko-crusted, deep-fried, bite-sized calves' brain pieces. Say what you will, but the guests loved it!

            It's a great history lesson and cooking programme wrapped up in one - if your nerdy proclivities lean towards such, you won't want to miss an episode. With only 4 instalments, though, make sure to pace yourself!

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              07.07.2009 20:27
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              awesome program that is pobably the craziest meal you will ever see

              Heston is a genius and he is able to express this in full in this great TV programme. I had seen previous Heston Blumenthal on other TV programs so i was prepared to see something a little different but this show is something else. If you are looking for a cooking show that provides practical guides for you to follow then this show is not for you. As Heston explains, it is about pushing cooking and the dining experience to its limits. Heston creates incredible pieces of art aswell as food. I really enjoyed watching the celebrity guests surprise and shock when they hear what they are about to eat. How meals end with the diners eating the candles and cutlery because they are made of white chocolate. The show is really inspiring and makes you wish you had the skills and resources to be able to do the same. Heston is nort just creative, he is increadibly methodical and scientific about his food and the show follows the whole process of how each feast is created. Each feast is based in a period time, one show is a medieval feast, Heston researches what was traditionally served, researches the best ingredients and techniques to prepare the food and then you get to see the enjoyment of the guest dining. The only criticism is that the guests are sometimes annoying and dull, I would have been a much better guest!

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                10.05.2009 09:34
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                A truly inspring Cooking Programme

                You have simply got to love this programme, if you like, food, science or somebody who looks like their having a hell of a lot of fun doing their job.

                I like Heston Blumenthal, he's the owner and chef of the Fat Duck in Bray, this is considered the second best restaurant on the planet and he's renowned for his strange and sublime tasting menu which includes some incredibly odd meals.

                He has recently been on Channel four trying to reinvent the Little Chef menu to save it from going under and make it relevant to people in our era, he came across as a really nice guy who encouraged rather than dismissed, who looked to be innovative but realistic in equal measures, and he did a damn good job under some real constraints.

                Well this programme is nothing like that, for this programme, Heston has been asked to be as mad and creative as he wants to be and set up feasts from Bygone days, the programmes asks him to recreate feasts from the following eras:

                Victorian Britain

                Tudor England

                Medieval Era

                Ancient Rome

                For each Feast a series of celebrities are invited, they are a strange mix but this is a strange show, we have people as diverse as Rageh Omah, Germaine Greer, Kelvin MacKenzie and Alex Zane.

                Each week Heston delves into the past gives a bit of background on each era and what was eaten and then sets about creating the maddest concoctions he can make. Its fun watching Heston create Absinthe Jelly with a Vibrator or cooking a whole hog in a jacuzzi for 24 hours, this really is boil in the bag, but not something Gordon Ramsey will be taking to his restaurants i'm sure. We have ejaculating cake, a hog roast where the guts fall out of the stomach and are actually edible sausages, an edible insect garden where the insects, flowers, grass, even dirt are edible. This is visually stunning and we are willing Heston on at every moment. The food looks exciting and Heston seems like an overblown schoolkid in his work, heading to France to get drunk on Absinthe or to East London Sex Shops to find out which vibrator would make a jelly wobble most, he has a great time and so do we.

                I was entranced by the series, by the man and by the food, I found the format good although I didn't care what the guests thought as while some were genuinely excited, some were simply there to be on tv and showcase themselves, I simply wanted to watch this great chef have fun and make some ingenious and innovative meals, I was thoroughly satisfied.

                On BBC2 Blumenthal made a series about making the perfect meal, this was ok, but too complicated and there was no fun to it, Heston now seems to have found his niche, he is the mad scientist of chef's and should have free rein to enjoy himself, he's not shouty like Ramsey, or posh like Nigella, he's a normal bloke who is doing what he loves and its incredible fun joining him to see what he can do.

                A great tv experience, something truly different and exciting.

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                  28.04.2009 21:08
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                  An incredible programme that I would love to see more of

                  This innovative series was the brainchild of part chef, part mad scientist (all food enthusiast) Heston Blumenthal. Head chef at one of the world's top restaurant's, The Fat Duck, Blumenthal has made a name for himself in ambitious and experimental cookery. This reputation is part of what made me watch this interesting series about weird and wonderful recipes through the ages. The other part is the two word phrase repeated in the advertisements that cannot help but spark curiosity: 'ejaculating cake'. I decided that I needed to see what that was all about! The series was in four parts with each episode covering a different historical period.

                  VICTORIAN FEAST:
                  This was my favourite of all the feasts. Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Heston created a pink drink that has all of the flavours you might find in the weird and wonderful drink that had such a drastic effect on Alice in the children's story. The sheer amount of effort and enthusiasm Blumenthal puts in to create a drink (and a special glass for it) that has layers of flavours that can each be tasted individually is amazing and a joy to watch. However, this pales in comparison to the completely edible Victorian mini garden replete with deep-fried grubs filled with a tomato-y mayonnaise. Everything he makes is a feast for the eye as well as the tastebuds and his creativity is astonishing.

                  MEDIEVAL FEAST:
                  Four and Twenty Blackbirds baked in a pie? Well, their pigeons actually - a legal issue surrounding the protection of blackbirds apparently - but there are certainly a lot of them escaping from a very large pastry case! But only after a starter that looks like a fruit bowl but is in fact various types of meat made to look like fruit. Apparently, disguising meat as fruit then serving it to your guests was the height of entertainment at a Medieval banquet. Heston's main course of lamprey - a slippery, slimy looking eel type of thing that has lost favour in England but still goes down a storm in Latvia - proves a bit too gruesome looking for his rather squeamish guests. All is not lost, however, as Heston reveals dessert: a pork pie. But, as you might expect by now, it's not going to be any ordinary pork pie but some clever trickery from the chef who is by now giggling like a schoolgirl as he watches the looks of disbelief and surprise on the faces of his guests. This childlike enthusiasm is really rather endearing as is Heston's passion for using incredibly convoluted methods that would look more at home in a science lab than in a kitchen.

                  TUDOR FEAST:
                  This one was a bit of a weak one for me but still it contained one of Heston's most ambitious dishes: the cockentrice. A cockentrice is a mythical beast comprising a pig's head, a sheep's body and a chicken's legs (or something along those lines, there were so many bits of animals it's difficult to remember!). Rather than just arranging these into something that looked quite funny on a plate, Heston enlisted the help of a taxidermist and a plastic surgeon to make a structurally sound cockentrice. Then he blew it up. On purpose. If he wasn't on telly, someone would have locked Heston Blumenthal up by now. I feel at this point i have to mention the guests at his dinner party. There seemed to be a bit of barrel-scraping going on here as there were some very minor celebrities oohing and ahhing at the great man's culinary delights which was a bit of a shame. But I suppose bigger name guests might have overshadowed the food which was meant to be the real star of the show so I suppose I can forgive the booking agents for that.

                  ROMAN FEAST:
                  This was the last of Heston's feasts and certainly the most spectacular. It included a roasted animal being slit open to reveal entrails dropping out. But obviously, this being Heston's show, they weren't entrails but were in fact the most finely crafted sausages and black puddings known to man. But the absolute highlight of the series was a volcano shaped dessert made of chocolate and space dust (remember the exploding sweets?) and it is this dessert that allows me to end this review (well, before the summary) with a two word phrase you may never again hear on dooyoo: ejaculating cake.

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                    24.04.2009 14:18
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                    A recreation of historical feasts

                    This programme was shown in march on Channel 4. It was presented by one of the latest "celebrity" chefs - Heston Blumenthal. He looked back into history and ctried to recreate 4 feasts. These were a victorain Feast, a tudor feast, a medieval feast and finally a roman feast.

                    I found that this series actually peaked after the first episode. the victorian feast was by far the most interesting of all the series and unfortunately I ended up comparing every episode to the first one.

                    The programme wasn't all about cooking it really was more of an entertainment show where the selected celebs were invited to the feast and we could see the look on their faces as they ate insects or started eating all the knives and forks (which were made of chocolate!).

                    There were some really horrible bits in this programme and there were acouple of times when I had to look away when he was gutting fish and removing the intestines of a pig. I don't think that this would be an ideal programme for a vegtarian!!!!

                    There were also a lot of funny parts - I think the idea of a jelly which was made to wobbly using an adult toy(?!) was something which had me in stitches. If you watched this programme on the sunday tea time repeat you would have missed it because they edited it out!!

                    This was an interesting twist on your usual cooking programmes and well worth catching if you missed it first time around.

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