Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Review: In Search of Total Perfection

Heston Blumenthal is known as a gastro-wizard. Not only does he helm the Fat Duck, once considered the top restaurant in the world, but he also has popular notoriety through his In Search of Perfection television series on the BBC. In Search of Total Perfection is the culmination of the TV series put in print (combining his two previous books from the series into one volume), and offers not only the recipes and exploratory work leading to the recipes, but also the behind-the-scenes tales from the studio. And whereas a movie can drop a book’s plot, story lines and even characters to help the story fit into a two-hour reel, this book flips a page and gathers all of the information presented in the series and expands on the shows with useful and fun details. The reader is left as plump and saturated as Blumenthal’s roast chicken. And that’s where we’ll peck away at this book – roast chicken. Read the rest of the review at The Gastronomer's Bookshelf.


Tri2Cook said...

Nice review. I have a slightly different take on the title though. I don't view the title as a marketing technique because I don't view it as a claim that these are perfect versions of the dishes. I view it as saying they are his perfect version of the dishes and the valuable information isn't the recipe but how he arrived at the recipe.

I have both of the series books and I really enjoy them. The lengths he goes to in an effort to achieve his perfect vision of the dish is inspiring. I've done the chicken, the fish and chips, the treacle tart, most of the black forest (I didn't bother with the vanilla bean stems or the woodgrain base) and the spaghetti bolognese from the first book (I really want to do the bangers and mash but haven't yet). I've only done the burger and the fish pie from the second book. They were all really good but not all of them were my perfect idea of the dish and I don't think he expected them to be. For example, I like my chicken more roasted than his version and did it the second time by pulling the chicken as directed, cranking the oven and popping it back in to brown. I liked it better that way. The injected chicken butter is genius though.

Gfron1 said...

I certainly agree with what you're saying, but I'll still stick with my marketing perspective since all cookbooks should be a chef's/author's attempt at perfection. But as we both said, the journey, not the destination is what's great about his process. And its important to remember that I had never seen any of his shows so really had no previous knowledge of him other than his restaurant fame.