Chef who created snail porridge cooks up bangers and mash for his television debut

Heston Blumenthal, the culinary pioneer whose most famous dish is snail porridge, is to join the ranks of the celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Delia Smith by fronting a prime-time television series.

Rather than teach the public how to make his signature experimental dishes, such as green tea and lime mousse in liquid nitrogen, the chef will opt for more popular fare for a BBC2 show this summer.

He will apply his scientific approach, known as "molecular gastronomy" (a term he dislikes), to well-known dishes such as fish and chips and bangers and mash. A recipe at the end of each show of the series - Perfection: Heston Blumenthal - will explain how to cook the dish at home.

Blumenthal, who runs the Fat Duck in Bray, Oxfordshire, said: "It's the Fat Duck approach but adapted to everyday dishes. We haven't necessarily gone for the most expensive ingredients but expense is not a consideration. If people can't get part of the equipment then we have found an alternative."

Blumenthal, one of a trio of British chefs with three Michelin stars, believes the series will spread his scientific approach and safeguard his financial future. A book accompanying the series is likely to sell well.

Like Jamie Oliver's Italy series for Channel 4, Blumenthal travelled with a film crew to France, Germany, Italy and the United States. But he had to do so before he had a risky "spinal fusion" operation in November that was to end decades of crippling back pain. After months recuperating, the 39-year-old chef is scheduled to finish the eight-part series in the studio by the end of next month.

Due for broadcast in August, the show features six savoury dishes: fish and chips, bangers and mash, spaghetti bolognese, pizza, steak and salad, and roast chicken and potato; and two desserts: treacle tart and Black Forest gateau.

For each dish, Blumenthal examined the properties of the individual ingredients, and investigated how to prepare and cook them.

His research on pizza took him to Naples, where he saw how the pizza flour was made in a flourmill, tested the gluten in the dough, checked levels of pectin in the tomatoes and the temperature of the ovens. For the perfect pizza, his search took him to a New York strip joint, the Penthouse Executive Club, reputed to serve the best steak in the world.

He said: "We had this bizarre evening where we were eating steak with women taking their clothes off in the background. It was the best steak I have had."

For the Black Forest gateau, the chef went to Germany and had a perfumer recreate the smell of kirsch. To create the best fish and chips, he tested 25 varieties of potato. The bangers and mash programme involved a trip to a pig farm in Northumberland. Although well known to foodies, the show will raise the public profile of Blumenthal, whose most high-profile television work was a five-minute slot on BBC2's Full On Food last year.

He filmed a series, Kitchen Chemistry, for the Discovery satellite channel five years ago but said he considered Perfection to be his first proper television series.

He said he wanted to share his "child-like inquisitiveness" about food to a wider audience, and to make some money. "Margins at the Fat Duck are so tight," he said. "After the third Michelin star and Restaurant of the Year I thought I wanted to get some financial security for my family without losing my integrity and hopefully this will achieve that."

Recipes for television success

Delia Smith

A shy cookery writer, this matronly brunette taught the nation to cook with a series of easy-to-understand shows with such names as How To Cook.

Jamie Oliver

Essex boy Oliver's laddish approach to food on his show The Naked Chef led to greater fame and a TV campaign to make children eat healthily - Jamie's School Dinners.

Rick Stein

Stein's passion for fish is reflected in the success of his foodie empire in Padstow and in the fishy theme of his shows, which have included A Taste of the Sea .

Gordon Ramsay

The foul-mouthed Scot has become arguably Britain's most famous culinary TV presence, perhaps best known for the ITV reality show Hell's Kitchen.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Publishing

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Guru Careers: Report Writer / Reporting Analyst

£25 - 30k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Report Writer / Reporting Analyst is nee...

Guru Careers: German Speaking Account Manager / Account Executive

£24-30K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A German speaking Account Manager ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own