Heston Blumenthal: The Obsession

The food world has got Heston Blumenthal fever.

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Nobody can get enough of the British celebrity chef and master of molecular gastronomy, Heston Blumenthal. It seems everybody in the foodie world is talking about him these days. In particular in Australia, because in 2015 he’s moving his hugely successful English restaurant Fat Duck to Melbourne for a whirlwind six months. And the Aussies are excited – Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, won its third Michelin star in 2004, and has been named one of the best restaurants in the world numerous times.

But it’s not all celebrations – because with this launch, there’s been more than just smoke and mirrors – there are real con artists at work.

“The fact that some have chosen to go to such great lengths to cheat the system is disappointing.” Heston says.

His famously controversial dishes are designed to surprise diners and leave them in awe. Nothing is as it seems: salads look like ice lollies, and wrap your head around bacon and egg ice cream – oh, and snail porridge. His dish ‘sounds of the sea’ (pictured below) comes complete with an iPod hidden inside a shell so diners can listen to the sounds of waves crashing as they eat edible sand, seaweed, abalone, razor clams, shrimps and oysters.

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But the launch of his Australian Fat Duck has caused such a frenzy that even scalpers got involved. Because of the immense demand for a spot during the limited six-month period, an electronic ballot system was introduced. The reason for this was to make it fair, but what happened was quite the opposite.

14,000 lucky diners were successful in booking a table at the set price of $525 AUD a head (approximately $444 USD), and more than 250,000 people were unsuccessful. However, it has been revealed that scalpers scammed the system and managed to make over 100 bookings under fake names.

“I’ve been completely blown away by the reaction; it’s been really humbling,” Heston says. “The fact that some have chosen to go to such great lengths to cheat the system is disappointing. We worked so hard to make it fair for everyone. The matter is being dealt with; it’s not over.”

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Whatever you want to call Heston – mad scientist or food genius – and whether or not you agree with his cooking style, there’s no denying his unparalleled skills in the ‘art’ of molecular gastronomy – or at least it becomes a form of art when he unleashes his creativity. He’s even launched a supermarket range in both Australia and the UK.

It seems that Heston fever has reached fever pitch. But at least those lucky few can look forward to a bank-breaking, but inevitably immensely impressive meal at Fat Duck Melbourne in 2015. And the others? Even if it’s not quite what the doctor ordered, they’ll have to make do with Heston’s supermarket range – at least for now.

 

By Christina Wylie

 

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