Sunday, September 14 11:15AM—12:15PMKeynote: Eating is a Multi-Sensory Experience Main Stage Presentation
BiographyHeston Blumenthal is a name recognized around the world as one of the driving forces in the avant garde food movement. From the humble kitchen of The Fat Duck in Bray, England, Blumenthal turns out dishes like bacon-egg ice cream and seafood served with iPods playing the sounds of the sea, and in doing so, routinely toys with our conceptions of flavors, dining, and cuisine. His pursuits have led him to work with food historians, perfumists, food physiologists, and biochemists from all over the world; he is, one could say, a bit of a food renaissance man.
Born in London in 1966, Blumenthal spent his childhood years in Berkshire, England, where he still lives with his wife and three children. At age 16, he had a transforming experience when visiting the restaurant L'Oustau de Baumaniere, located in a small village in Provence; once exposed to the wonderful world of gastronomy, Blumenthal was immediately consumed by it.
Upon his return to the UK, Blumenthal sought work in London kitchens, but at 16 was considered too young. Undeterred, he spent the next decade teaching himself the rudiments of French cuisine, and working odd jobs to fund trips to France to visit restaurants, vineyards, cheese makers, butchers, and artisanal product producers. His research was extensive, thorough, and determined; it culminated, in 1995, in the opening of his first restaurant, The Fat Duck. Nine years later the restaurant gained 3 Michelin stars, and in the year of its 10th anniversary was named “The Best Restaurant in the World” at Restaurant Magazine’s “50 Best Restaurants in the World” Awards (and it remains on the list, vying with el Bulli for #1, to this day).
One of the books Blumenthal read during the early days at The Fat Duck was On Food and Cooking; the theories put forth by McGee prompted Blumenthal to embark on a sensory journey to explore the science of food and the impact of smell and taste on the palate, memory, and emotional wellbeing.
His pursuits are documented in his weekly columns for The Sunday Times, his television program “In Search of Perfection,” and his cookbooks, including In Search of Perfection and Further Adventures in Search of Perfection. One of his greatest adventures yet (besides being knighted by HM The Queen for his contributions to British gastronomy) is the soon-to-be-released The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, which will be the first that comprehensively chronicles the restaurant’s dishes and techniques.
“Sound of the Sea”
Chef Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck – Bray, England
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 8 servings
• 65 grams sake
• 2 fresh yuzu
• 1 fresh sudachi
• 700 grams mirin
• 525 grams rice wine vinegar
• 550 grams tamari
• 110 grams ‘thin mouth’ soy sauce (usu kuchi shoyu)
• 10 grams katsuo bushi (dried bonito flakes)
• 15 grams kombu (dried kelp), browned on both sides over an open flame
• 250 grams red miso paste
• 100 grams white miso paste
• 5 grams cod liver oil
• 250 grams grapeseed oil
Pickled Dulse Seaweed:
• 15 grams white wine vinegar
• 40 grams rice wine vinegar
• 40 grams water
• 30 grams sugar
• 2 grams salt
• 50 grams dried dulse seaweed, washed in cold water, picked over, and cut into 4 cm strips
• 10 grams grapeseed or groundnut oil
• 20 grams shirasu (baby eels or anchovies)
• 10 grams kombu
• 80 grams N-Zorbit M tapioca maltodextrin*
• 25 grams ice-cream sugar cone (dark, biscuity type), ground
• 30 grams panko breadcrumbs, fried in grapeseed oil until golden brown, then lightly ground
• 2 grams blue shimmer powder
• 3½ grams brown carbonised vegetable powder
• 140 grams miso oil (from above)
• Sea salt
* This is essential to achieve the sand-like texture. National Starch developed it specifically to increase the volume of dry mixes and to absorb fats and oils to form a light, dry powder. Other types of tapioca maltodextrin don’t absorb fat in the same way.
• 150 grams dried hijiki seaweed
• 25 grams usu kuchi shoyu (‘thin mouth’ soy sauce)
• 5 grams mirin
• 1 Japanese lily bulb
• 125 grams carrot, finely sliced
• 125 grams onion, finely sliced
• 75 grams fennel, finely sliced
• 50 grams leek, white and pale green parts only, finely sliced
• 50 grams shallots, sliced
• 5 grams garlic, finely sliced
• 25 grams vermouth
• 100 grams Chardonnay
• 250 grams razor clams, purged in several changes of fresh water
• 300 grams mussels, purged in several changes of fresh water and beards removed
• 225 grams cockles, purged in several changes of fresh water
• 1.75 kilograms water
• 35 grams dried wakame seaweed
• 20 grams kombu
• 15 grams flatleaf parsley
• 15 grams rishiri kombu
• 900 grams low-calcium mineral water
• 40 grams shiro shoyu (white soy sauce)
• 500 grams live razor clams, purged in several changes of fresh water
• 8 native oysters
For the Final Sauce:
• 800 grams “Sea” (from above)
• 200 grams oyster juice (from above)
• 30 grams shiro shoyu (white soy sauce)
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 8 live sea urchins*
*These need to be prepared as near as possible to serving in order to maximize their fragrant floral character.
To Assemble and Serve (per portion):
• 10 grams “Sand” (from above)
• 1 level teaspoon fried shirasu (from above)
• 1 “Seashell” (from above)
• Ponzu (from above)
• 2 grams fresh Codium seaweed, washed in several changes of cold water and separated into pluches
• 2 grams hijiki seaweed (from above)
• 2 grams dulse seaweed (from above)
• Razor clams, thinly sliced (from above)
• 1 oyster (from above)
• Sea urchin ‘tongues’ (from above)
• Final sauce, at room temperature (from above)
• 10 grams soya lecithin
• 10 grams sodium caseinate
• Trimmed sea beans (a.k.a. samphire), approximately 3-cm x 5-cm pieces
For the Ponzu:
Pour sake into a pan, bring to a boil over high heat and ignite to flame off alcohol. When the flames have died down, remove from heat and set aside to cool. Wash yuzu and sudachi, cut in half, and juice, straining out any seeds. Discard any seeds from citrus halves, then cut halves into quarters. Put in a large container along with juice and remaining ingredients, and seal with an airtight cover. Refrigerate for 1 month. Strain liquid through damp muslin and adjust seasoning by adding tamari, soy sauce, or vinegar if necessary. Store in refrigerator.
For the Miso Oil:
Fold all ingredients together very carefully, then cover and refrigerate for 48 hours. Gently strain through damp muslin to separate top layer of oil from heavier miso below, and reserve the oil.
For the Pickled Dulse Seaweed:
Place all ingredients, except seaweed, in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add dulse to cooled liquid, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
For the “Sand:”
Put grapeseed oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat until hot. Add shirasu and sauté, stirring constantly, until golden brown. (If they are too dark, they will be bitter; too light and they won’t be crisp enough. The shirasu will continue to brown after being removed from pan). Strain off oil and drain shirasu on paper towels. Grind kombu to a fine powder, sift it, then weigh out 4 grams. Put 5 grams of fried shirasu in a mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients except miso oil and salt, and combine. Add miso oil, drizzling it in a light stream, and stir to obtain a wet sand consistency. Season with sea salt and store covered until needed.
For the Hijiki Seaweed:
Soak hijiki in warm water until softened (about 5 minutes), then drain off water. Rinse with fresh water and drain again. Season with soy sauce and mirin. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
For the “Seashells:”
Rinse off sawdust that lily bulb is stored in, then pat dry and cut out core. Separate individual layers of bulb. Using a small knife, trim each layer to look like a seashell and store covered in fresh water. Blanch ‘seashells’ in salted simmering water. As soon as they float to the surface, refresh in iced water, then drain and set aside. (They can become overcooked in a matter of seconds, so act quickly to retain the lightly crunchy texture.)
For the “Sea:”
Put the vegetables, garlic, vermouth and wine in a saucepan and simmer until translucent. Add water if necessary to prevent vegetables from sticking. Add shellfish and cover with water. Bring liquid up to 85°C/185°F, then cover and infuse for 25 minutes at this temperature. Remove from heat and add wakame, kombu, and parsley. Re-cover and allow to cool to room temperature. Skim off any impurities that have risen to surface. Pass stock through a chinois and then through a sieve lined with damp muslin. Cool over an ice bath.
For the Razor Clams:
Wipe kombu using a damp cloth, then place in a pan with water. Heat to 60°C/140°F and hold at that temperature for 1 hour. Remove from heat and add white soy sauce. Set aside until cold. Preheat a water bath to 65°C/149°F. Place razor clams, in their shells, in a single layer in sous vide bags. Add just enough kombu infusion to cover clams, then seal under full pressure. Cook immediately for 4 minutes in water bath. Transfer bags to iced water. When thoroughly chilled, remove clams and discard shells. Cut away entrails and reserve ‘tubes’ in fridge until needed.
For the Oysters:
Clean outside of oysters with cold water. Using a short, wide-bladed knife, carefully open each oyster, transferring them and their juice to separate containers. Strain juice through a fine-mesh sieve and use this to wash oysters. Put oysters in a clean container, then strain juice once more and add it to container. Cover and keep refrigerated. (Oyster juice will be used again later.)
For the Final Sauce:
Place “Sea,” oyster juice, and soy sauce in a saucepan and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as necessary. Refrigerate until needed.
For the Sea Urchins:
Rinse sea urchins under running water to wash away any mud or debris. Use kitchen shears to cut around the top of each urchin to reveal orange ‘tongues’ inside. With a small spoon, carefully remove these from shell and place on paper towels.
To Assemble and Serve (per portion):
Place the sand on a plate and use a rigid card or spatula to shape it into a vertical strip about 2 cm wide. Sprinkle shirasu on top. Toss seashell in ponzu and place on the sand. Toss Codium seaweed in ponzu and drain on paper towels. Place in a pile by edge of sand. Place separate piles of hijiki and dulse seaweeds on sand in same manner. Drizzle ponzu over seafood pieces, then place on top of each pile of seaweed. Place final sauce in a container, add soya lecithin and sodium caseinate, and foam mixture using a hand-held blender. Spoon around seafood to resemble the ocean crashing on to the beach. Garnish dish with 3 pieces of sea bean and drizzle a bit more ponzu over top. Serve with an iPod playing the sounds of the sea.