Heston’s Great British Food - TV review: Hot stuff from Heston as he reinvents Britain’s curry house dishes - Reviews - TV & Radio - The Independent

 

Heston’s Great British Food - TV review: Hot stuff from Heston as he reinvents Britain’s curry house dishes

Heston Blumenthal’s food shows always make for spectacular television, but Heston’s Great British Food (Channel 4) can claim an additional triumph: it has succeeded in restoring pride to Britain’s national cuisine. How can dishes such as fish and chips, roast beef and sticky toffee pudding be dull and uninspiring, when each has served as inspiration for one of Heston’s fabulous feasts? The return of the show for a second series also proves Britain isn’t out of foodie favourites yet – even if this episode’s curry theme did seem a bit of a stretch.

Curry is from India, yes? Well, no, not quite. Most of the curry house pioneers were actually from Bangladesh, not India, and, as Heston was informed by restaurateur Enam Ali, the deliciously inauthentic likes of chicken tikka masala and onion bhaji were both invented on these shores. So, much like the Birmingham-produced bhangra-pop hit “Mundian to Bach Ke”, which we heard on the soundtrack, Heston’s curry episode was a celebration of the culture of second, third and fourth-generation British-Asians.

The food history sections were full of fascinating morsels, since even before the Second World War instigated a wave of mass immigration, Britain had a culinary relationship with India. This has resulted in Victorian Anglo-Indian concoctions of varying tastiness, like kedgeree (yum), mulligatawny (passable) and devilled kidneys (the very work of Satan). In conversation with Heston, the author and historian Shrabani Basu, also scandalously hinted at an affair between Queen Victoria and her Indian Secretary Abdul Karim. For it was he who first introduced her maj to that known aphrodisiac – a massive curry. If Karim’s poppadum’s were as impressively over-sized as Heston’s, we can hardly blame her.

It wasn’t this tittle-tattle, which made Heston’s famous glasses – literally – mist over, however. That visual spectacle took place after he bit into a moruga scorpion chili, aka “the hottest chili in the world”. As if his discomfort wasn’t evident enough from his crimson cheeks and steamed-up specs, Heston also managed a mind-bending description for the viewer: “Ooh, I’ve just found a couple  of radiators at either side of my head!”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 contestants and their professional dance partners open the twelfth run of the celebrity ballroom contest

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin teaches Clara to shoot an arrow
doctor who
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week