How to Cook like Heston DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
How to Cook like Heston
Reviewed by
Soph
on
How to Cook like Heston DVD Review But I do forgive this program its little foibles, because it delivers something different: a way to actually improve the food that we eat by using (mostly) quite simple techniques to bring science to the kitchen. And with its slick graphics, innovative camera work and charismatic chef de cuisine, How to Cook Like Heston is a fun way to do it.
Rating:
4.0

Feature 8.0
Video 10
Audio 10
Special features   N/A
Total 8.0
Distributor: Madman Visit's Soph's modelling profile and interview at Impulse Gamer
Running Time: 180 mins
Classification: PG
Reviewer: Soph

8.0


How to Cook like Heston

This DVD appeals to two prominent facets of my personality.

Firstly, as an enthusiastic (very) amateur (largely self-taught) cook, I have a virtually unquenchable appetite for food television. Nigella, Jamie, Poh and company have been my mentors and my inspiration through countless hours, until my partner exclaims in not entirely unfeigned despair that I must have “watched the entire internet” by now.

Secondly, as someone who strives to be a rational entity in an irrational world, I am a strong believer in the scientific method.

So if you’re anything like me, awesome chef + scientific approach to cooking = a recipe for televisual bliss.

I’d first come across Heston Blumenthal’s “molecular gastronomy” style in earlier productions such as 2005’s Kitchen Chemistry (a low-budget affair peppered with alarming close-ups of Heston’s face in what I have to assume was an attempt to make the talking head more interesting) and Heston’s Feasts (in which truly ridiculous dishes are constructed for the delight of B-list celebrity dinner guests), but How to Cook Like Heston was the first offering to combine high production values, scientific principles, and achievable methods for the average viewer to create Heston’s dishes in his or her own home.

Each episode takes one common ingredient, discusses some of the chemical properties that should be taken into account when preparing it, and presents several recipes featuring that ingredient. The analysis takes you right from selection of the appropriate item (e.g. the melting points of various cheeses, the starch content of various potatoes) to the crowning glory of a succulent roast chicken or a super-stringy cheese fondue, with lots of carefully explained tips and tricks along the way.

Of course, it’d be disingenuous to present you with a rave review without having empirically tested some of Heston’s recipes, so I can report that the roast chicken method is a complete knock-out. Without giving too much away, the secret is brining and then slow-cooking, and the results were such that I will never go back to the dark old days of sticking an unbrined bird into a hot oven. Never! His simple tips for a juicy, rare steak are also very useful. However, I must also report with some chagrin that Heston’s technique for the ‘perfect’ soft-boiled egg has caused me considerable confusion and several sub-standard breakfasts. Either his method could use some tweaking, or I am an imperfect vessel for his teachings.

Other minor niggles include over-reliance on pop rocks, which smacks of style over substance, and a stretching of what might be considered accessible techniques for the “average viewer” - bain maries and food thermometers yes; liquid nitrogen, paint sprayers and blowtorches...not so much. Finally, the jacket blurb’s reference to “myths inherited from our mother’s kitchen” is a toe-curling example of casual sexism.

But I do forgive this program its little foibles, because it delivers something different: a way to actually improve the food that we eat by using (mostly) quite simple techniques to bring science to the kitchen. And with its slick graphics, innovative camera work and charismatic chef de cuisine, How to Cook Like Heston is a fun way to do it.






 
 



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