The Culinary Alchemist

Heston Blumenthal is a freak of nature in that he views the world of food in a slightly different way to rest of us and certainly to his peer group of superstar chefs. His first major step that propelled him to international prominence was in 1995 when, after two years of searching, he purchased a 450-year-old pub in a small town called Bray in Berkshire. Hardly the smartest business decision one would think as it had a tiny kitchen, only one door, no view, an outside loo and a reputation as the hotspot for every hard drinker banned from all other pubs in the area but it was all he could afford.

At this stage, there was no thought of Michelin stars. With its beams sandblasted and a copper bar installed, The Fat Duck opened as a very simple bistro serving French classics such as petit sale of duck, steak and chips, sauce a la moelle and tarte tatin. So far so good until day two, when the oven exploded and Heston spent the rest of service with a bag of frozen peas strapped to his head.

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Heston Blumenthal