Monday, March 16, 2009

The Fat Duck & Quantum Chemistry


Chairman Bill asked: "Would you care to comment on The Fat Duck interpretation of quantum chemistry."

He expanded later, with: The Fat Duck is a 3 star Michelin restaurant in the UK run by Heston Blumenthal, who is renowned for using the principles of chemistry in his menu design. Unfortunately he had to close down for a couple of weeks due to an outbreak of vomiting and diarrhoea, although the health inspectors gave his place the all clear.

I have met up with a Spanish equivalent, el Bulli. My son, Richard, gave me a megabook on a day in the life of el Bulli for Christmas.

I find it a cute idea but I can't afford to go to the restaurant and I can't afford the equipment needed to do a lot of it at home. They do things like use liquid nitrogen to freeze things. Fascinating but out of the reach of the home cook. There must be a few things I can do so that I can impress Richard; I have a dehydrator for example. (Watch this space.)

What really caught my attention was the comment by Chairman Bill that the UK restaurant had been closed due to food poisoning. It may well have been coincidental and nothing to do with the restaurant (that is often the case) but it does play to one of my food safety themes: be very wary of food prepared in non-traditional ways.

I will write more another day on the subject but most food is safe because we prepare it the way countless previous generations have prepared it. And survived. The problem is most people don't understand why this is the case and, in ignorance, try shortcuts.

With quite dire results, sometimes.


  1. Think I'll start a "bring your own bunsen burner" restaurant.....

  2. well, I sat for a few moments watching that space, but, nothing happened.
    I thought, with a name like "fat duck" I was going to find out that "pressed duck" was a post life diet plan to make it appear that the duck was lean?

  3. Preparing in traditional ways...reminds me of the story of Burke and Wills who reportedly died from eating edible seeds that weren't prepared the way they should have been. The Aborigines knew how to pound and cook the toxins out of the seeds but the explorers were too proud? ignorant? to ask for advice. (BTW I don't know how to publish my comment other than Anonymous.) Joanna

  4. Joanna: select Name/URL from the drop down, type in your name and ignore the URL.


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