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Heston Blumenthal and Professor Julian Vincent
Heston Blumenthal and Professor Julian Vincent
Photo by Nic Delves-Broughton

Internal News - 14 August 2007

TV chef Heston comes to University for help with scientific cooking

The celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal came to the University of Bath for help in developing his scientific approach to cooking.

Mr Blumenthal, whose restaurant, The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, has three Michelin stars, used the kitchen in Wessex House to cook Peking Duck while being filmed for a BBC series.

The celebrity chef yesterday met Julian Vincent, Professor of Biomimetics here, to talk about how to make cooking the dish as scientifically precise as possible.

“The problem has been how do you get the flesh nice and juicy and make the skin crisp and brittle at the same time," said Professor Vincent.

“Traditionally you scald the duck, which alters the proteins of the skin and makes it easier to get the water out, and then cook it quickly to make the skin crispy. However there is the problem with this method of getting enough heat into the duck without burning the skin.

“I’ve had an interest for quite a number of years in the fracture mechanisms that occur when a substance is heated and have spoken to Heston about this. Suggestions include removing the skin first and cooking it and the flesh separately.”

Mr Blumethal's TV appearances include his In Search of Perfection cookery series, in which he takes a scientific approach to cooking food.

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