Many of the world’s top chefs have been looking for new and innovative ways to make their food, with cream chargers proving to be particularly popular with those who like to stand out. One of those “out there” chefs who likes doing things a little differently shall we say is Heston Blumenthal. In 1982 when Heston was just sixteen he visited a three-star restaurant with his family, to discover that none of them had experienced anything like it before. The extraordinary food and the beauty of the surroundings made a young Heston fall in love with the idea of cooking and he set about becoming a chef.

It took more than a decade for him to get there however, combining day shifts in various job roles with evenings creating French cuisine, cooking the same meals over and over and perfecting his techniques. Apart from a three-week spell working in professional kitchens, Heston has completely taught himself how to cook and all of his techniques were developed through practice.

Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking” was the book that made Heston the chef we know him to be today. It taught him about using a scientific approach to cooking and mixing ingredients that would never normally have been put together.

After more than two years of searching the best location, Heston bought a 450-year old pub in Bray in 1995. With a tiny kitchen, one door, no views and an outdoor toilet, many were sceptical of his plans to convert the building into a restaurant, but at that time his budget couldn’t stretch to anywhere else.

Once the beams had a good clean and the insides given a complete revamp, The Fat Duck opened as a bistro serving mainly French classics such as petit sale of duck, steak and chips and tarte tatin. On day two, the oven exploded, leaving him without anything to cook main meals in. But despite this early chaos he was soon receiving great reviews and the tiny location was a massive hit.

As the restaurant began to grow in popularity, the first Michelin star arrived. Heston’s cooking had moved on from bistro classics, and in 2000 it reopened with its first multi-course tasting menu. This offered guests the opportunity to sample dishes that didn’t fit into a normal menu. Even new methods of cooking were explored, with water baths used to cook with exceptional precision and consistency. This lead to another Michelin star in 2002, and by 2004 he had three.

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