Heston Blumenthal is the chef/owner of The Fat Duck, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray, Berkshire. His latest book is Heston Blumenthal At Home (Bloomsbury, £30)
What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?
Like most chefs, the things I use most are knives, I'm hardly ever without one in my hand. Mine are all from Tojiro Senkou, the Japanese maker. They're all beautifully balanced, very sharp and made from 60 layers of steel. My temperature probe is a bit of a must-have, too. I used it for measuring sugar density in pastry and things like that – it's the only real way to ensure consistency. I don't really have anything I don't use.
If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?
Well, I'm assuming there is a farm nearby, where I could invest in a live chicken. I'd live off poached, fried and scrambled eggs. Then when it didn't lay anymore I'd kill it, season with salt and pepper, and roast it.
What do you eat for comfort?
Just about anything I find in the fridge when I come home from work – you'd be surprised how much you can eat while leaning on a fridge door. Ideally, though, it would be a supermarket prawn cocktail with lots of marie rose sauce. Or ice cream, either my own or Haagen Dazs' caramel or vanilla stuff.
If you could only eat bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
Potatoes. You can do so much more with them. I'd choose a Golden Wonder or, failing that, an Arran Victory or maybe a Yukon Gold. I could happily live off my triple-cooked chips for ever.
What's your desert island recipe?
I couldn't live without my poached egg recipe. You put 2 litres of water in a pan and add an up-turned plate. Then heat the water to exactly 80C and add a couple of teaspoons of salt. Now crack a fresh egg onto a slotted spoon and let the watery bit of the white drain through. Once you've done that, slide what remains into the water and time for 4 minutes. And there you have the perfect poached egg.
What's your favourite restaurant?
I'd have to say, on the basis that I have been having an Indian takeaway from here almost weekly for the past 15 years, Maliks in Cookham, Berkshire. They serve the greatest naan you've ever tasted in your life. And it's just nice to opt out of the whole top-flight restaurant scene. Often when I go out in London, I find myself analysing the dishes. Maliks is my release, I suppose you could say.
What's your favourite cookbook?
The first cookbook that really grabbed me was The Great Chefs of France by Quentin Crewe. But I'd say the most important one, the one that changed the way I thought about cooking, was Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. I came across it in 1985 and remember it said: "We know that browning meat doesn't keep in the juices," which went against everything I'd read up until then. It made me question everything.
Who taught you to cook?
Me. I'm completely self-taught. From the age of about 15 I just bought every cookbook I could get my hands on, went to speak to fishmongers and butchers, ate in French restaurants and trawled around markets, trying to learn everything I could. The culmination of it all was my first invention: the triple-cooked chip in 1992.Reuse content