Who is Heston Blumenthal from Marvellous Menu: Back to the Noughties?

The acclaimed chef is famous for his unconventional flavour pairings

Updated on 20 December 2019

Who is Heston Blumenthal from Marvellous Menu: Back to the Noughties?

Heston Blumenthal is one of the top celebrity chefs in the UK, best known for taking a highly scientific approach to cooking and bringing molecular gastronomy to the forefront of popularity. He is part of the celebrity chef elite, among the ranks of Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White, having firmly established himself in the culinary world.

Heston Blumenthal has received many awards and has been greatly lauded by critics for his boundary-pushing approach to cuisine. He has revolutionised modern approaches to cooking, by employing new techniques backed by science and professors from top universities in the UK. He has hosted many TV shows and documentaries, as well as being a prominent guest judge on MasterChef Australia.

Heston is a self-taught chef who hustled hard to get to where he is today; he took on a variety of odd jobs to fund his passion for cooking and be able to open his first restaurant. It took him a decade to realise his dreams, but his efforts certainly paid off and he is now one of the most celebrated chefs in the world.

His most famous venture, The Fat Duck, has been ranked as number one by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. His reputation for experimenting in laboratories to find the best flavour pairings according to science has won him many accolades and honorary degrees, and won the esteem of many scientists. His prolific career shows no sign of slowing down as he continues to host TV shows, write cookbooks, and create more flavour-bending dishes.

Heston’s Marvellous Menu: Back to the Noughties, a BBC Two documentary, is the acclaimed chef’s most recent project. The documentary is a nostalgic trip down memory lane that sees Heston re-visit The Fat Duck in 2001 for an emotional journey. Read on down below to learn more about Heston and his new documentary.

Who is Heston Blumenthal?

Heston Blumenthal is a highly acclaimed British celebrity chef, who is well-known for pushing the boundaries of food and utilising science in the kitchen to create a phenomenal gastronomic experience. He is one of the few chefs in the UK to receive 3 Michelin stars and is famous for taking food to the next level by inviting the senses to the table and playing with molecular gastronomy.

Heston was born and raised in west London and developed a passion for cooking at the age of 16, after visiting a Michelin-starred restaurant in Provence. His progression to where he is today was not an easy one. He never went to cookery school, and bar some very short stints in two professional kitchens, Heston is a self-taught chef. Heston decided to open up his own restaurant and start from there, rather than from the lower ranks. He took on a series of random jobs such as credit controller and repo man for ten years, while teaching himself French classical cooking in the evenings.

He eventually bought a run-down pub in Berkshire and The Fat Duck soon became a critic favourite, with its successful interpretation of classic French cooking through a highly experimental lens. Heston has gone on to win many accolades including Michelin-stars, Best Restaurant in the World and Chef of the Year, among many more. Heston Blumenthal holds several honorary degrees from science departments all over the country, has hosted numerous TV shows, and written many books.

How many restaurants does Heston Blumenthal own?

Heston owns four restaurants, a modest repertoire, but all held to very high standards. Three of his restaurants are Michelin-star recipients, and each one utilises the highly scientific approach to cuisine that Blumenthal is so well-known for. Here is the list of Blumenthal’s restaurants:

How many Michelin stars does Heston Blumenthal have?

Heston Blumenthal has received six Michelin stars in total, with his world-famous The Fat Duck being the most highly acclaimed of his restaurant collection. Heston was awarded his first Michelin star three years after The Fat Duck opened. The restaurant, situated in Bray, Berkshire is now only one of five restaurants in the UK to be awarded three Michelin-stars, certainly not an easy feat. Blumenthal’s Dinner has two Michelin stars and The Hinds Head pub has one.

What is Heston’s Marvellous Menu: Back to the Noughties about?

Heston Blumenthal's new TV show will be taking viewers back in time to revisit The Fat Duck in 2001, a pivotal year for the chef. The one-hour documentary sees a rawer, more emotional side to Heston, as he is challenged by restaurant critic Giles Coren to recreate a tasting menu inspired by the past. The Fat Duck is given a turn of the millennium-style revamp and high-profile guests are dressed in early 00s fashion. Blumenthal delves into his extensive career and looks back on the innovative dishes that helped redefine British food, to serve up his most famous dishes once more. The documentary was aired on BBC Two on Thursday 19 December at 9pm. 

What are some of Heston Blumenthal’s career highlights?

Heston is a recipient of honorary degrees from top British universities, such as the University of Bristol for his work with molecular gastronomy. Blumenthal is regularly praised for his work by multiple well-regarded food guides, with The Good Food Guide saying his dishes are reminiscent of an early Picasso. He has hosted over ten TV shows about cooking, such as Kitchen Chemistry and In Search of Perfection, and has been a guest judge on MasterChef Australia for many years.

Heston Blumenthal has, in many ways, changed the food map and the way we experience fine dining. By working with scientists to understand food structure and apply new techniques in the kitchen, he has radically changed cooking methods. Blumenthal pioneered the use of liquid nitrogen, after trying to solve a simple problem with keeping the colour of green beans.

He is well-known for incorporating a multi-sensory dynamic to his fine dining restaurants; his dish Sound of the Sea is exemplary of this method by playing with sight, smell, touch, and sounds. Blumenthal loves creating insane flavour pairings that shouldn’t work but do, using their molecular profiles to find complementary ingredients. He is a master innovator of food, whose repertoire spans from perfecting triple-cooked chips to inventing zero-gravity bacon sandwiches for astronauts, and engineering all sorts of delightfully weird flavour-bending dishes in between.

What's the deal with Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White?

Not unlike most high-profile chefs, Heston Blumenthal has had his fair share of scandal and controversy from food poisoning issues to being sued by a former employee, and reports of profit losses. Heston hasn’t had any major falling outs with his contemporaries, as he hasn’t spent much time working in other professional kitchens. Although he did a very short stint with Marco Pierre White to learn how to run a restaurant, Blumenthal hesitates to call him a mentor. They had previously worked together at a Raymond Blanc restaurant, but Blumenthal only lasted a week before he struck out on his own to work on his new restaurant. However, White maintains that he helped get Heston on the restaurant ladder, and they still argue over who came up with the name for The Fat Duck. In an interview with The Guardian, White praised Blumenthal for running his kitchen as a “well-oiled production line” but said it lacked romance, which Blumenthal definitely did not appreciate. 

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