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One of my favourite food memories is L'Oustau de Baumanière (a triple-Michelin starred restaurant in the South of France, where at the age of 16 he enjoyed his first gastronomic epiphany that made he want to be a chef). It’s down the road from where I live now. It’s really the whole experience.
Food and smell is the biggest trigger of memories. I remember sitting on the back of my parents’ car in Cornwall, wrapped in a car blanket and eating a Cornish pasty in a brown paper bag. Wow, it’s funny how that has just come back to me. I also remember my gran taking me to an ice cream parlour in Edgware Road every Saturday. Food has that amazing ability to connect us with a moment.
I did a TV series for the BBC called Search For Perfection years ago and the fixer said we should go to Pizzeria e Frigittoria in Naples for pizza. I thought that Italian pizza was thin and crisp, but the fixer said that was pizza from Rome and their pizza was better. I’m sure the person from Rome would have said the same. But what he gave me from this stall pizza stall in Naples has remained one of my favourites. The reason for that was the complexity of the dough. They make the dough by adding the flour to the water, not the water to the flour. They saturate the dough. Which means it’s really elastic. So when you put it in the oven it wants to expand. It’s incredible light.
I would love to go back to Maison Troisgros in Ouches, France. This is a restaurant that has been at the top end of the game for years. The staff that have been there for years. There’s a youthfulness about the whole place. It’s a fabulous combination of old and new.
This year I would like to go somewhere where the restaurant is rooted to place. I would like to visit Jeong Kwan, a Buddhist nun in Korea who starred in Netflix’s Chef Table. I am interested because it is about giving love and emotions to food. I don’t have a religious bone in my body. But when you say grace you’re being thankful for the people who grow it.
Heston Blumenthal was in Singapore for the World’s Best 50 Restaurants Awards. He is about to open Dinner By Heston Blumenthal at The Royal Atlantis Resort in Dubai this year. He is also working with Oxford College on a water project from his new laboratory in France.
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