One Desi Chef in Culinary Wonderland-PRATAP CHAHAL

Pratap Chahal returns with mouth watering recipes and a photographic review of Heston Blumenthal’s acclaimed Michelin restaurant, The Fat Duck. It was named the best restaurant in the world in 2005 by Restuarant magazine and second best in 2006 and 2007. Enjoy!

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Summer Summer, what a bummer!

Ah..you know it’s the English summer when the sun shines, men walk around with no shirts and the women wear tiny skirts. Not to mention, the pubs are all full!

Ah..you know it’s the Indian summer when the sun burns, men walk about sweating like rivers and the women don’t leave the house! Not to mention, you can cook without a stove!

But it’s the season for strawberries (beautiful, seductive plump English strawberries), Asparagus, broad beans, cherry tomatoes, and all those beautiful baby vegetables. Every menu has the same ingredients. Every dish exploits the bounty of the produce. We’ve got asparagus on 5 dishes! Why not?

Somewhere in the countryside of Oxford Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons is growing its own organic fruit and vegetables. Raymond Blanc’s beautiful 14th century building houses a stunning, expensive and head-expanding restaurant that’s held two Michelin stars for 25 years. They grow 60 varieties of herbs and the lavender that surrounds the whole site. It’s makes you giddy with joy! RB as he is popularly known is a small French man who has tremendous respect for everyone he works with (he’s got a killer head chef though!) The amount of Michelin star chefs in the UK that have trained there is testament to the place itself… Marco Pierre White, the infamous bad-boy who trained Gordon Ramsay learnt from Raymond Blanc, as did Heston Blumenthal (albeit for a week).

Speaking of Heston Blumenthal…I got the chance to go and dine at The Fat Duck a few months ago (having planned on it for 3 years)…In one word. OHMYGOD! We sat for 5 hours being entertained and that is exactly the way it is – entertainment! From the waiters performing magic tricks and visual effects on the table to the way the food makes you laugh ‘cause it tastes incredibly surreal and flawless, to the way it’s so relaxed. The pictures should speak a little for the place, but all written and said, nothing better than going there to feel like a child in wonderland.

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Sardine Sorbet, Mackerel Inverterbrate, Sea Salad

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Mango and Lychee Bavarois, Douglas Fir Puree, Blackcurrant Sorbet

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Roast Foie Gras, Almond Fluid Gel, Sherry and Camomile

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Liquid Nitrogen Poached Lime and Green Tea Mousse with Vodka (Palate Cleanser)

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7 Comments

  1. Hi Pratap…thanks again for another appetizing read…

    just adding a little snippet I found on The Fat Duck from wikipedia. It sounds like a fabulous place.

    The Fat Duck is a restaurant run by chef Heston Blumenthal in Bray, Berkshire, England. In 2005 it was named as the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine, and it came second in 2004, 2006 and 2007. Unlike most of the top ranked restaurants, which are located in exclusive districts of major cities, The Fat Duck is to be found in a modest cottage style house in a country village. Bray is also home to Michel Roux’s Waterside Inn, which was ranked as the sixth best restaurant in the UK and the nineteenth best in the world.

    Blumenthal adheres to the principles of molecular gastronomy, according to which the quality of the diner’s experience can be enhanced considerably when the physical and chemical processes that take place in cooking are understood. This approach to studying and designing food at The Fat Duck results in the discovery of unconventional and often bizarre-sounding dishes. For example, the restaurant’s tasting menu, a tour of Blumenthal’s signature creations, features “snail porridge”, “sardine on toast sorbet”, and “salmon poached with liquorice”. These unusual juxtapositions are attributed to logical reasoning about physical and chemical properties of foods. While liquorice and asparagus is not traditionally an appealing combination, their flavours are chemically similar, and so the two ingredients should, theoretically, complement upon the palate.

    Beyond applying the results of chemistry and physics to cuisine, at The Fat Duck, Blumenthal exploits psychology, experimenting with the diners’ perception. Among the starters in the restaurant’s tasting menu is a “jelly of orange and beetroot”, a serving of two separate jellies, where the red has been made using blood oranges, and the orange from orange beetroots. More generally, dishes at The Fat Duck suggest the notion that expectation biases perception: call it frozen sardine soup, and it will taste one way; call it sardine on toast sorbet, and it tastes sweeter.

    Blumenthal has a deep interest in the history of food, and the French culinary traditions in particular. The Fat Duck began as a bourgeois French restaurant, and many of dishes are variations on traditional French dishes, such as petit sale – a method of cooking poultry by steeping it in spicy salt water. As of March 2007 there are two menus; A la carte costs £80 per person and the tasting menu costs £115 per person, excluding wine and an optional 12.5% service charge. A selection of 8 wines to accompany the 16-course tasting menu can be had for £90 per person, with an alternative selection of more expensive wines available for £295. In addition, at the end of the meal there is a tea menu with a selection of herbal and fine Chinese teas in the £5 to £20 per person price range.

  2. Can you please explain how liquid nitrogen is to make Liquid Nitrogen Poached Lime and Green Tea Mousse with Vodka (Palate Cleanser)…..and what exactly is a palate cleanser? it sounds quite complex!

  3. oye pratap…did heston serve you an ipod with your food? I found this on another site about the fat duck…

    The man who’s never adverse to a bit of experimentation has decided iPods and music will enhance its menu. A new dish called ‘Sound of The Sea’ comes with iPods on the side. It is comprised of seaweed, seafood and tapioca, comes served in a wooden box with a surround of sand and seashells and diners are requested to listen to sounds of the sea on the iPods as they chow down.

    Talking to Square Meal, Blumenthal said:

    “I did a series of tests with Charles Spence at Oxford University three years ago, which revealed that sound can really enhance the sense of taste. We ate an oyster while listening to the sea and it tasted stronger and saltier than when we ate it while listening to barnyard noises, for example.”

    No, you don’t get to keep the iPods.

    from http://itsfood.wordpress.com/2007/04/27/ipods-on-the-menu-at-the-fat-duck/#comment-905

  4. The Ipod dish came about a month or two after I’d visited. The liquid nitrogen (in that form) is kept in a sealed container. Then when ready, they pour it out into a bowl and drop the mousse into it. The mousse is a meringue flavoured with green tea vodka and lime and piped through onto a spoon. Once the mousse hits the nitrogen, it starts to freeze instantly. Once completely frozen (7-10 seconds) they take it out and you eat it (upon which it melts and ‘explodes; instantly in your mouth). The palate cleanser bit means that it removes any flavours or tastes you may have had in your mouth so that your mouth is clean and free from any stale tastes when u start your meal!

  5. Hi Pratap,
    I’ve lost your phone number when i lost my phone, so tried an internet search to find you. If you get this plase get in touch my dear. Would love to hear from you.
    Kira x

  6. the best restaurants usually serve super delicious foods at a very low price _

  7. i would like to think that the best restaurants would serve very delicious and healthy foods .”`


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