Heston Blumenthal can certainly be considered one of the most influential chefs of the modern era.  With no formal training, he has moved serious dining to a new level with his restaurant, The Fat Duck, been voted as the best restaurants in the world on numerous occasions.  Expect to pay in excess of R3 000 for a meal here, with wines to match.Fat-Duck

But how did he get to where he is. The Fat Duck Cookbook is one of the most inspiring books that I have read in ages.  Divided into three separate sections, the first section covers his history and rise to fame, in a well written autobiography. And what an enlightening biography it is – when he was setting up a restaurant, he seriously considered Franschhoek in South Africa, way back in 1992.  His father grew up in South Africa.  Alas the sale fell through, but he is still considering retiring here one day.  In acknowledgment of his work with food chemists Heston received an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Reading in 2007.

The second section demystifies some of  Heston’s  dishes from the restaurant, birthplace of snail porridge and bacon-and-egg ice cream, up to four pages for one dish, accompanied by what the reviewer  refers to as the glossiest and filthiest of gastro-porn photography.

The third section delves into the science and techniques of cooking and describes the scientific process that happens in the kitchen.

For anybody interested in cooking and the process behind food, this book is a masterpiece, and worth every cent of its R580 price tag.

Wickedfood Cooking School

Sunninghill – (011) 234-3252 sunninghill@wickedfood.co.za

Runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built cooking studios. Classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – team building cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our classes are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and teambuilding cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.