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In Search of Perfection [Hardcover]

Heston Blumenthal
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
RRP: 30.00
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Book Description

2 Nov 2006
One of the world's most renowned chefs, Heston Blumenthal has made his name creating such original - and some might say bizarre - dishes as Snail Porridge and Nitrogen Scrambled Egg & Bacon Ice Cream at his internationally acclaimed restaurant, The Fat Duck. Heston decided, though, that it was time to go back to both his and our roots and to focus his creative talent on reinventing some of our most well-known and abused dishes. In order to do this he travelled around the world in search of 'perfect' versions of eight dishes which represent the essence of our culinary heritage: Roast Chicken & Roast Potatoes Pizza Bangers & Mash Steak Spaghetti Bolognese Fish & Chips Black Forest Gateau Treacle Tart & Ice Cream Everybody's idea of 'perfection' is different, and so Heston, drawing on interviews with experts and cooks as well as using his own culinary and scientific research, sets out to discover what makes these standards so great. He explores the origins of each dish, how to find the best ingredients, and of course the many different ways - and whys - of cooking them to perfection. He reveals priceless culinary tips along the way: everything from how to cut potatoes for flawless frying, to what makes the choicest beef, to the secret ingredients in the perfect spaghetti Bolognese, to capturing the essence of a fish and chip shop in a perfume bottle, to making aerated chocolate bars at home with a vacuum cleaner. In Search of Perfection examines the role of food in our lives and memories and is a completely original, inspiring and fascinating exploration of these kitchen classics.

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In Search of Perfection + Further Adventures in Search of Perfection + Heston Blumenthal at Home
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury; 1st edition (2 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747584095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747584094
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Entirely self-taught, Heston Blumenthal is the most progressive chef of his generation. In 2004 he won the coveted three Michelin stars in near-record time for his restaurant The Fat Duck, which has twice been voted the Best Restaurant in the World by an international panel of 500 experts. In 2006 he was awarded an OBE. He lives in Berkshire with his wife and three children.

Product Description

About the Author

Chef Heston Blumenthal has been described as a culinary alchemist for his innovative style of cuisine. His work researches the molecular compounds of dishes so as to enable a greater understanding of taste and flavour. His restaurant The Fat Duck, in Bray, Berkshire, was awarded three Michelin stars in 2004, and voted the Best Restaurant in the World by an international panel of 500 culinary experts in Restaurant Magazine's The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2005 awards. He also owns the Hinds Head Hotel, a village pub in Bray. Heston Blumenthal lives in Berkshire with his wife and three children.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on food I own 3 Nov 2006
By Kuma
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is perhaps one of the most audacious cookery books you will read... Heston has taken 8 everyday classic dishes and sought out how to make it as good as it can possibly be by seeking out master chefs and carrying out in-depth testing in the research kitchens of his restaurant (The Fat Duck, named the best restaurant in the world last year) then by learning about the ingredients he found to be the best by visiting the artisans who create them.

What makes it so special is that each dish is assessed both culturally and scientifically in the quest to make the recipe perfect, looking at how tradition and memory shape the food, and at the chemical processes involved in the preparation, assessing things such as how variations in temperature, ingredient quality and methods and timings of preparation may influence the final outcome.

At the end of each chapter Heston presents his recipe which often draw on novel and unusual methods of preparation which overcome the limitations you may face in the home (for example you are not likely to have a dewar of liquid nitrogen for making ice cream or an oven than can hit 500 degrees Centigrade for making pizza, but he finds a way to get close to these).

These recipes will be quite expensive to prepare with the special equipment you may need to buy and the use of the best ingredients possible - though Heston does suggest to use the best you can afford, and I plan to use good ordinary ingredients for a couple of dry runs (not yet being a three Michelin starred chef who has cooked up several hundred practice versions in a well-equipped research kitchen I think this may be sensible!) Also most of these recipes require a lot of time to prepare and may not leave much change out of a weekend.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice to look at but difficult! 14 Nov 2006
This is a book that is long overdue in that it tells you how to cook dishes that people actually want to eat! Unlike many of the modern chefs it is a relief to come across someone who is happy to cook real food for real people.

There are some good stories in the book and the photography is fantastic. I could hardly believe the time and effort that someone could spend on making a pizza but the finished product certainly looks nice.

I have to take issue with a couple of the recipes though. My favourite meal is steak with Black Forest gateaux and these are the two dishes I have tried to make but be warned - it is not easy.

It tells you to cook the steak with a blowtorch and then put it in the oven for 18 hours (true!). This just did not work for me and the steak ended up far too black and chewy. To be fair, the recipe did say to trim off any burnt bits but if I had done that we would not have had much left. As for the gateaux, this turned out very nice (although not as good as the photograph) but do be careful when using the vacuum cleaner on the chocolate because it is very hard to clean afterwards. Apart from this it is a great book and I recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING 15 Feb 2011
By krisb
I have seen Heston Blumenthal's 'In Search of Perfection' television series and his feasts and have always been fascinated!
This book is truly an adventure! Each recipe requires a significant amount of time (up to 10 hours), but the results are WELL WORTH IT!!!!!
What is amazing is that all of the recipes are designed for the home cook, and while they do take dedication, they are all do-able!!

So far, I have attempted the "Perfect Chicken" and the results were incredible! The most amazing flavor, texture, juiciness, everything!! Just note that the first time making any of the recipes will take longer than suspected-- yet the subsequent times will definitely run more smoothly!!

Give these recipes a chance and the experience gained is amazing!
Plus, the stories are great as well!!

A 'perfect' book!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need to be open minded 18 Oct 2007
Neither the Fat Duck nor the Hinds Head (The authors 2 restaurants) had the Black Forest Gatteau on their menu's and I really wanted to see if something with THAT much thought and effort could taste as good as the TV show would have us believe, so I bought the book to make my own.

The first thing that strikes you about the book is that IT IS NOT a cook book, far from it. It is much more biographical than that and goes to extraordinary lengths to give each of the featured recipes their opportunity to reveal their secrets and explain why they are such classics.

The aforementioned Black Forest "recipe" is in fact maybe only 4 pages long, out of a section of the book that is maybe 40 pages long. Heston uses the rest of the chapter to take you into his world of ingredients, he spends 6 pages walking you round the Amedei chocolate factory near Pisa for example. None of this makes you a better cook but he uses such evocative language that you really feel like you're in the conching room with him and smelling the roasted cocoa beans, It makes you want to do justice to the ingredients you're about to use. For me personally, gaining extra appreciation for ingredients was a fantastic by-product of owning this book.

Think of this as a cooks tour guide book, Heston walks and talks you through the regions that makes claim to inventing the recipes you're exploring on his journey, why specific tomatoes make the best sauce for pizza and why beer makes for a better batter. The book is fantastically well written, he makes very few references to the "sciency bit" that features prominently in the TV show, in fact it makes me feel the Molecular gastronomy title bestowed upon him is somewhat unfair, but you can be the judge of that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars All good, thank You very much
All good, thank You very much
Published 29 days ago by Piotr Janoszek
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
Great book.
Published 2 months ago by Terry Howlett
5.0 out of 5 stars Heston Perfection Personified
Like Heston, you will love this book with its insights into Heston's philosophy on foods
Thoroughly recommend it to all foody people!!
Published 3 months ago by Hurleys
2.0 out of 5 stars book
not what I thought it would be , not a cook book it is heston telling you about places and not about the food he cooks, disappointed
Published 4 months ago by Sandra Lamb
5.0 out of 5 stars A peek inside Heston's mind
Great book. Some interesting recipes but also good to get an understand of why "good ingredients" are so critical to his cooking. Read more
Published 5 months ago by MR ALAN GRAHAM
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like detail....
I love to know everything about the perfect steak and where to get it, cooked or raw. The best steak I ever had was in Houston and the waiter told me exactly how the meat was... Read more
Published 5 months ago by DamonOsborne
5.0 out of 5 stars love his way of cooking
I watched his show a couple of times and absolutely loved it. The book has really nice recipes and lots of nice facts and information about products and cooking.
Published 7 months ago by Laura
5.0 out of 5 stars Great price
I bought it as a present and it is a nice solid sized cookbook.Content fantastic and the price was unbeatable.
Published 7 months ago by mikey
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice gift idea
I bought this as a present so I haven't tried the recipes but I bought it on sale for 5 which is a bargain for Heston. The book is in great condition too.
Published 9 months ago by SJ
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