Heston’s Chocolate Factory Feast Review: Wonky
HESTON’S CHOCOLATE FACTORY FEAST: Tuesday 6th April, Channel 4, 9pm ALERT ME
I’ve always had a mild dislike for Heston Blumenthal. But, you must understand, a mild one.
He just isn’t significant or exciting enough to be hated. Hatred is usually something of a compliment. And I doubt even more that anyone positively likes him. You’d never hear someone on the bus saying ‘I really really like Heston Blumenthal’. It just wouldn’t happen.
And so, to the latest instalment of Heston trying to be as odd as possible in the kitchen. I’ve never properly watched any of his weird food fests, but from adverts it looks all liquid nitrogen, smoke and freezing. After watching a full episode I now realise it’s all liquid nitrogen, smoke, freezing and glucose.
Once again, he’s using the annals of history to inspire himself into making weird food. The 1960s, and specifically Willy Wonka, is the subject this time: which demands lots of lame drug references and lazy nods to the novel. First though, we are introduced to the string of D list celebrities he will be predictably wowing, which cues the ‘Oh who’s she again’ game. I recognise Ben Sheppard and Tim Lovejoy. 2/8 isn’t bad.
The first course is lickable wallpaper, which will be ‘trippy’. Oh great, he’ll dip a load of paper in acid. Fantastic – I can’t wait to see Tim Lovejoy dribbling into his socks whilst Ben Sheppard explains to him the intricacies of glass. In fact, what he actually creates is a rather disgusting series of pastes that he smears on a wall. This is not unlike the results that would occur should you place a baby unattended in a room for 22 minutes at dinnertime.
It all looks weird and wonderful – but he’s adding things like prawn cocktail crisp flavoured powder and glucose. It’s not so much cooking, more eating chewed up child snacks. Predictably, the slebs gush with enthusiasm.
Now, onto the next dish, which is Magic Mushroom inspired. He’s off to Italy to find a relative of the vegetable. ‘Its fantastic to be able to taste something from the magic mushroom family that isn’t going to do you in’. Yeah – ‘cos that’s what we’ve all always wanted to do. He’s far too boring to have 5 syllables in his name.
Heston proceeds to add gloopy ingredients to pureed mushroom and then freezes the mixture. He seems to freeze everything. Now he adds gelatine and smoke. That trek to Italy was a waste: any taste of the special mushroom is masked by stock, and ingredients you’d find in sweets. And oh look: dry ice. He’s like a bad magician.
Heston’s last dish manages to turn two individually pleasant things into the most disgusting creation I’ve ever seen. Duck a L’Orange is fine, but not when Heston gets his hands onto it. Predictably, he glucoseifies the concoction and adds gelatine. Oh good, the stickiest blob of stuff ever known to man.
Because everything looks amazing, and nothing is at all what you expect – it’s impressive. But the whole programme has the feel of a loser in a kitchen. It’s just mildly boring. Given the right tools, a child would do the exact same thing, but they’d get bored after their parents had oohed and ahhed at their eighth ‘crazy’ creation.
Unfortunately, the mild dislike for Heston continues in apathetic predictability.