Heston Blumenthal, the legendary chef, with six Michelin stars to his name and a new Dubai opening later this year, on his castaway choices
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
This has been a huge inspiration as a reader and a chef. Alice’s journey taught me how it’s important to realise that things are not always what they seem. Alice is always talking to herself and this internal dialogue is something I recognised in myself. Never losing that childlike curiosity and always asking questions, especially those with no answer, has been the driving force behind many of my successes.
On Food And Cooking: The Science And Lore Of The Kitchen
Probably the single biggest catalyst for my cooking. I first came across it in The Times long before I opened a restaurant under a headline shouting that ‘searing meat did not lock in the juices of the steak’. This was totally against the accepted wisdom of classical cooking. Once I understood how this could be wrong I realised so many of the other rules of gastronomy could also be incorrect and I began to unpick them and find my own way.
How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain
Lisa Feldman Barrett
I realised a long while ago that I wasn’t in the restaurant business per se, I was in the business of emotion. I began to explore the science of emotion and how food can play a huge part in creating them but also altering our experience of food. It helped me better understand how to use the tools of multisensory dining that I was developing. I keep coming back to this book; it is the most user-friendly I’ve found and is endlessly fascinating.
The Forme of Cury
Unknown 14th century
Its extensive 14th-century collection of medieval English recipes is, for me, the most important historical text in British gastronomy. I was introduced to it by the historian Marc Meltonville and the team at the Royal Palaces of England. It became the focus of my research into Britain’s culinary past and the backbone of my development in my restaurant Dinner By Heston Blumenthal in London. Inside are so many wonderful and exciting dishes and I was able to reimagine some of them and create such iconic dishes like Meat Fruit, Rice & Flesh and Tipsy Cake, which will also feature on the menu of my new restaurant in Dubai.
My Book about Me, by Me Myself: I Wrote It! I Drew It!
I like so many of his books; Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, but this one holds a special place. It was my introduction to personalisation which has become a signature of the way we serve food at The Fat Duck. I was given it when I was eight or nine and it asked me what I would invent, so I wrote I would invent a rocket ship so powerful it would even be able to go to Ireland! To think my own creations are now much further afield and in faraway places like Dubai is just humbling!
Dinner By Heston Blumenthal will open later this year in Atlantis The Royal, Dubai.