There are some chefs whose culinary creations approach outright wizardry: foams and suspensions, agar-based “caviar” and scented air. But few have pushed experimental kitchen techniques to their limits like the British Heston Blumenthal, whose new tasting menu at the Fat Duck
brings new meaning to magic in the kitchen—actually modeled off Alice in Wonderland, it brings the lucky diner along on an adventure that a simple meal rarely attempts.
The London Telegraph
visits Blumenthal in his test kitchen-cum-laboratory, where, it’s safe to say, the magic happens. Flambéed desserts are nothing new, but Blumenthal’s whiskey-doused barley sorbet is actually engineered to burst into flames on cue. His “Mock Turtle Soup,” inspired by the Mad Hatter Tea, appears from a most unlikely source—a gold “watch” suspended on a string in the manner of a watch is actually a tea bag, whose contents are unleashed into a spectacular consommé with the touch of hot water. (This recipe was released to the London Times
, though it’s hard to imagine a less talented chef attempting it.)
Other dishes are arranged into scenes that actually recall Alice in Wonderland, complete, the Telegraph notes, with a “little ‘caterpillar’ seemingly smoking a hookah atop a giant mushroom.” And though they may pale in comparison to these artistic marvels, the tasting menu’s more “substantial” dishes—jelly of quail with oak moss and chicken liver parfait, red cabbage gazpacho with mustard ice cream, a powdered Anjou pigeon with blood pudding—are sure to excite the culinary imagination, as well.