When Phoodie met Heston… 6
August 7, 2015
You can imagine my face when the email arrived asking me to ‘Save the Date’ for lunch with Heston.
Um… yeah… no, sure, I mean yeah great, should be free… Ah… let me just check that Grandma can do the school pick up and it’ll be fine…..
Or something like that…
An email of “YesIWillDefinitelyBeThereThanksSOmuchforIncludingmeIamhonoured” or similar was fired back and it was locked in!
And this week, it happened.
One minute I was in my pjs yelling “Put your library book in your school bag! Hurry! We’re going to be late!” and the next, I found myself (NOT in my pjs!) sitting at a dining table in a beautiful Sydney home next to the man himself!
Heston is a really good bloke. Down to earth, funny and super-smart.
On Tuesday, a small group of very enthusiastic food media (a mix of journos and bloggers) joined the awesome Breville ambassador for a conversation around the table. While we ate a yummy lunch, Heston shared how sensory perception has influenced his career, and how Breville are including these insights in their new product designs.
Heston put great emphasis on asking “WHY?” to pretty much everything that you think you know about food and cooking. He talked about how this was basically the only way to progress, to discover, to move forward and to find new and clever ways of preparing and eating food.
He told us about why, originally, he wanted to get into cooking. The moment that as a young boy, he dined in a Michelin Star restaurant in the South of France and was completely blown away. How all of the details of the restaurant and the waiters and the environment and the architecture and of course the food combined and affected all of his senses to create memory and an unforgettable and life changing experience. He said that this realisation, however, only hit him later in life. He hadn’t known at the time that all of those details, (such as the mammoth size of the cheeseboard, the waiter’s leather aprons, the lights shining onto the monastery on the top of the hill in the distance, the crunching gravel underneath his feet as he walked to his table,) would become memories stored so deeply into his mind forever.
We also talked a lot with Heston about how ALL of our senses combine and work together to create our dining experiences. He proved this to us through a series of “experiments!” One of those was that we were given red Skittles and had to eat them whilst holding our noses (and then not holding our noses) to note the taste difference. Another experiment was when a couple of the people at the table drank some wine whilst Heston grated a large bread knife on the edge of an empty wine glass to create a disturbing “nails down the chalkboard on steroids” noise. They compared the taste of the wine whilst he did this to the taste of the wine when there was no scratchy background noise. The results were surprising, but when you think about it, not surprising!
Heston explained to us how these kind of sensory perception discoveries could be applied to product development and again, proved it to us by showing us the new appliances coming out of Breville later in the year (Stay tuned to me on Social Media for those announcements!)
We chatted to Heston about his love for pasta (the store bought, dried variety that is…. as “making very good fresh pasta is extremely difficult and doesn’t work well most of the time.”)
Before we left, Heston again reminded us to ask “WHY?” when it comes to cooking and eating. Often the answer is “Because we have always done it that way….” and in Heston’s opinion, that’s not an answer!
And just when I thought the experience couldn’t get more awesome, upon leaving, Heston gifted us each with some Skittles, an “I O U” for the amazing Breville appliance coming out in October and also a signed copy of the 100th Anniversary addition of his favourite book, ‘Alice in Wonderland!’
WHAT A DAY!
Photography: Nicole Anderson (Except photo above)