squaremeal.co.uk � 71
I told them I'd been backpacking around
South-East Asia after university; halfway
through my lunch I was given a postcard
of a � ai Buddha and a wooden box to
construct, stencilled with my name and
the image of a rucksack.
It's left to head chef
Jonny Lake to supervise
the kitchen on a day-today
describes Lake as the
conductor of an orchestra,
delivering a world-class
performance every day.
Nor is the current menu
set in stone; Blumenthal and Lake consult
on the original idea of a dish, then the
development team and senior chefs move it
forward. Two new dishes of lamb neck and
shoulder with coff ee and garlic, and scallop
with spinach and ceps, are in the pipeline.
As for Blumenthal, his immediate project
is developing a new food GCSE with the
Oxford, Cambridge and RSA exam body
to replace the old food technology course.
One of the things that Blumenthal is most
proud of is that his TV shows got children
excited about cooking. But he also thinks
that food is the one subject that binds
together all other academic disciplines.
"Food covers everything. 13.8 billion
years ago, earth, matter and time came
together in the Big Bang. � at's physics.
Atoms and molecules were created as a
result. � at's chemistry. Some of those
atoms and molecules formed organisms.
� at's biology. And some of those
organisms formed culture. � at's history.
� e only thing that unites all of that is
eating. You take your ingredients and
you do stuff to them: cut them, chop
them, heat them - that's physics. We
produce new molecules and atoms. � at's
chemistry. You then eat them. � at's
biology. And you then evolve the style of
cooking, and that's history."
But an even bigger project awaits.
"� ere are more receptors and neurological
triggers in our gut than in our oral palate
or brain. I think there's a connection
between nostalgia and happiness and the
gut, yet no diet has ever considered things
in terms of digestion. � e gut bacteria eat
the food, and then send the signals up to
your brain, which then
releases hormones into the
body. We're making lots
of connections that have
not been done before. � is
is what I'll be spending
the rest of my life on."
Blumenthal says the
ideas for the new Fat
Duck have been in his head for 20 years.
� e chef turned 50 in May. I have a gut
feeling that he has enough on his plate
to keep him going for the next 20 years.
Turn to p.56 for our review of � e Fat Duck
RESTAURANTS + FOOD
INSTEAD OF A MENU, DINERS
ARE HANDED A MAP AND A
INSTEAD FROM LEFT: BLUMENTHAL AND PART OF THE TEAM WITH THEIR AWARD;
NEW FAT DUCK DISHES 'WHY DO I HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN
A VARIETY PACK AND A FULL ENGLISH?' AND 'COUNTING SHEEP'
1995 Heston Blumenthal opens The Fat Duck as a French bistro
1999 Wins its fi rst Michelin star
2002 Wins its second Michelin star
2004 Wins the title of Squaremeal's Best UK Restaurant for the fi rst time and
becomes the fastest UK restaurant to win three Michelin stars, saving The Fat
Duck from bankruptcy
2005 Voted number one in the s.pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list
2015 The restaurant relocates to Melbourne for six months while the Bray site
undergoes a £2.5m refi t, re-opening in September with a new £255 menu, a
state-of-the-art-kitchen and no-expense-spared decor touches including a
£150k miniature sweet shop, £10k Japanese lavatories and £3k chairs