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Jeffrey Steingarten in Vogue: The Fat Duck


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Jeffrey Steingarten in Vogue: The Fat Duck

applehome | Jul 8, 2006 03:47 AM

This month's Vogue has Steingarten reviewing Heston Blumenthal and The Fat Duck, his Michelin 3-star restaurant in England. It's a terrific article - Steingarten is at his best here. He's really enthusiastic about Heston. Heston is much like Ferran Adria, in that he experiments, scientifically, with food. Steingarten says he's seen several labels for this type of food, including - science food, space food, future food, molecular gastronomy, and hypermodern cooking (his preference).

Interestingly, Heston never went to Culinary school, and did not come up through the kitchen system, snapping beans and cooking on the line. In fact he repo'd copying machines for his father, and didn't work in food service until he bought a bar that he turned into The Fat Duck. He is self-taught, having been introduced to haute cuisine when young, and learning from books, including Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. Jeffrey mentions a biennial conference on molecular gastronomy, where notables such as Heston, Adria, and McGee attend.

I was re-reading some articles from Calvin Trillin's works when the magazine came in the mail. Reading Steingarten right next to Trillin left some impressions. Trillin can be downright boring, in comparison. You definitely learn great new things from both - whether food, travel, or some insight into life. But Trillin is just not as excitable nor as exciting - not that I'll ever stop reading either. I was re-reading Trillin's articles because I had just received his new book of verse, A Heckuva Job, which is hilarious, (not about food, although it is about a mess...), and it just got me in the mind to re-read some of his prose.

I only wish that Jeffrey would start carrying around a small digital camera and taking some shots - if not of the food, then of the outside of the restaurant, the areas he visits, etc. They have one stupid picture for this article - takes up a whole page, and is basically a nice head and shoulders portrait of the Aflac duck. The photographer is given a large byline. Maybe Vogue could save a few bucks by having Jeffrey snap some relevant local color and pay him a couple of extra bucks - save the duck portrait artist and his byline for the perfume ads.

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