Okay, if we’re talking about a true self-made man story, then Heston Blumenthal wins it all, hands down. There’s no doubt about it. He’s one of the most innovative chefs the world has ever known. And he’s proven that the norms will not apply to him. You see, as a rule, the more a chef acts as a risk-taker, the greater the chance he/she will fail. Not the case with Blumenthal. How is this possible? How is it that his restaurant The Fat Duck has repeatedly received three stars by no less than the Michelin Restaurant Guide?
As a young boy, Blumenthal was fascinated by the taste and texture of the first three-star restaurant that he had gone to with his family in Provence. From that simple inspiration, the young boy started to work his way up in the ranks of chefs. Self-taught all the way, he apprenticed himself on many restaurants, with the occasional stint in some higher-tiered places for a week or so. He was able to perfect his cooking techniques and eventually set up his own restaurant, The Fat Duck. It started as a simple bistro selling the usual fair but, thanks to his perseverance and creativity, he was able to turn it into one of the top spots for dining in the world.
Blumenthal is also one of the few chefs who actually applies scientific concepts in his cooking. Perhaps the most notable of these is the use of the low-temperature, ultra-slow cooking techniques in some of his dishes. For example, a piece of beef would be cooked in temperatures as low as 60 degrees Celsius for more than 24 hours. This prevents the fats from melting away, and ensures that the meat is still juicy. This makes gravy or other sauces unnecessary already. He is also a strong proponent of a more scientific approach to cooking.
Aside from his cooking, Blumenthal is also noted for his books, all which are quite popular. His books are the following: Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking (2002), In Search of Perfection (2006), Further Adventures in Search of Perfection (2007), The Big Fat Duck Cookbook (2008), and Total Perfection:In Search of Total Perfection (2009). All these books talks about the best ways of cooking food, breaking the misconceptions that have pervaded the kitchens for many years.