On 5 April Chef Heston Blumenthal will receive the Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in Melbourne, it was announced last week. Chef Heston owns The Fat Duck in Bray, which was at the top of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list in 2005, and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London, the 45th World’s Best Restaurant, which I visited for lunch last July. What makes the Award to Chef Heston special is that he is largely self-taught, not having had any training other than two weeks at Chef Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in the U.K.
His first restaurant was The Fat Duck in Bray, outside London, which he opened in 1995 and he developed dishes that challenged current cooking norms. He was praised for his creative and playful Tasting Menu, which combined unusual ingredients. A colleague in early days spent time researching historic British dishes, and gave them a modern interpretation, first at The Fat Duck and then at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London. Some of his famous dishes have been snail porridge, as well as egg-and-bacon ice cream. He has garnered three Michelin stars for the restaurant. Chef Heston has used a combination of science, technical wizardry, imagination, and a sense of humour in designing his dishes.
In 2004 Chef Heston opened The Hinds Head in Bray, a one-star Michelin pub, at which I ate with Katie Friedman two years ago. He opened Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London six years ago. When I ate at Dinner at Heston Blumenthal last July, I was impressed with their signature Meat Fruit starter, which looks like a mandarin, but contains chicken liver Pâté! It is the most creative dish I have ever eaten! Each dish has a date, going back to 1300, which signifies the date of origin of the recipe for the dish. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal has one Michelin star, and rose to 9th position on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards, but now sits at the 45th rank. In 2015 Chef Heston temporarily located The Fat Duck to Melbourne, for a six month period, and moved The Fat Duck into a new location in Bray. He renamed his pop-up restaurant in Melbourne Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. In the London kitchen of the restaurant, there are two clocks: one is set to London time, and the other to Melbourne time, so that the chefs of the two restaurants can communicate with each other. Our review of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal:
He also owns The Crown pub in Bray, and The Perfectionists’ Café at Heathrow airport. Chef Heston has done TV shows ‘Heston’s Feasts‘ and ‘Heston’s Fantastival Food’. He holds an OBE for services to British gastronomy.
Chef Heston said about his Lifetime Achievement Award: ‘I am honored thrilled, and really quite excited to be given The Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award. For me, this Award is particularly special because it’s voted by my peers. After 20 years of The Fat Duck, I now feel like I’m just starting – and those 20 years were my apprenticeship. The future is very, very exciting’.
The Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chef Heston Blumenthal was voted for by more than a thousand international restaurant industry experts, and well-traveled gourmets making up The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy. Chef Heston’s father grew up in South Africa.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, William Reed Business Media. www.theworlds50best.com Twitter:@TheWorlds50Best. Instagram: @theworlds50best
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein