This week, Heston Blumenthal is the cover star of The Caterer, as he reopens the Fat Duck with not just a menu but a map - a nostalgic multi-sensory journey that evokes memories of childhood holidays and presents some of his most startling and inventive dishes yet. Here are some of the highlights of what we learned from the bespectacled chef:
1) He has his own coat of arms, which was devised for him after he was awarded his OBE in 2006. It features a duck (for obvious reasons) and a golden apple (which represents taste, Sir Isaac Newton, and the Royal Society of Chemistry).
2) The one book that stood out for him as he began to fall in love with cooking as a teenager was Harold McGee's http://www.amazon.co.uk/On-Food-And-Cooking-Science/dp/0684800012" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen.
3) On the day Blumenthal heard, in 2004, that he had won his third Michelin star, the Fat Duck had only two tables booked in for dinner and was two days away from bankruptcy.
4) For the reinvention of the Fat Duck, Blumenthal has been working with a host of experts, ranging from perfumer, Christophe Laudamiel, to celebrity magicians Chris Cox and Derren Brown, and Billy Elliot scriptwriter Lee Hall. Richard Seymour, a designer of the Wonderbra, developed a sweet shop-cum-doll's house for the restaurant.
5) Actually, don't call it a restaurant. Head chef Jonny Lake explains that one of the first things that Blumenthal told staff when explaining the new concept, was: "We are not a restaurant anymore." Coming up with a new range of dishes was the "easy bit", Lake says. Harder was the idea to convince front-of-house staff to get their heads around the idea that it is not the classical way of serving food and that there is plenty of engagement with guests at the table as they offer a more personalised experience.
To read the full feature, subscribe to The Caterer today!
Latest video from The Caterer