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Anybody who knows me, will know that I look up to Heston Blumenthal something silly. If I was a woman, I would probably stalk him, asking him to marry me every day, eventually earning me a restraining order, stopping me from living out my dream of visiting his restaurant… so I’m not going to do that. But here are 6 reasons why I love Heston Blumenthal!

1) Heston can cure peoples MSG fear

Yes, it’s recently come to Heston’s attention that hospital food is bloody awful, and after his success in improving the sub-hospital quality food of Little Chef. But he’s not just curing the hospitals dreadful food, he’s cured the nations fear of monosodium glutamate! Yes, MSG, that little flavour enhancer, everyone freaks out when they see it… but if you have an article talking about the 5th taste, “umami”, and never at any point mention “MSG”, everyone worships him.

2) He has the patience of a saint

During Heston’s time trying to improve the quality of Little Chef’s dreadful menu, he constantly had to deal with one of the worst people in the world, Ian Pegler. Unfortunately (yeah right) Ian has left his position with Little Chef. Ian was an annoying jobsworth jerk. Heston wanted figures, he wouldn’t give them him. Ian wanted 3 Michelin Star quality food, at Little Chef Prices (which although ain’t that cheap, still not going to afford him 3 star standards!!) and constantly saying “blue sky thinking”, “I want blue sky thinking, Heston”… he wanted a punch in the mouth, that’s what!

Heston Blumenthal doing .... ermm... something

Heston Blumenthal doing .... ermm... something

3) He’s all about the retro

If Heston was at the height of his career about 10 years ago, he would have been on those BBC2 programmes, “I Love the 60’s”, etc. He is the king of retro! If you watch his Channel 4 series, Heston’s Feasts, this years series has been more about retro foods than ever! Even to the point of creating his own Pot Noodle!! If you are lucky enough to get a seat at his Bray restaurant, The Fat Duck, you will be sent in the post an atomizer (for want of a better word) with the essence of sweetshop in it, you are given a web address, and then you put together your ideal sweetshop bag of sweets. As you leave the restaurant, you visit Heston’s Sweet Shop, and you are greeted by the smell of a sweetshop, and you get your bag of sweets you chose online!

4) He will cook meat for three days

In short, meat is brilliant, it deserves respect. 3 days at a ridiculously low heat shows respect for meat.

5) SCIENCE!!!

I absolutely love science, I do. I’m fascinated by chemistry and physics, biology, not so much, but all the best scientists specialise! This is why I love molecular gastronomy, the science element. Using centrifuges, usually seen in hospitals with vials of blood, to separate food into it’s component parts. Using whisked egg whites with bubbles blown from flammable gas to flambé a dessert… the man is a lunatic… and yes, there may be many other chefs out there using similar techniques… but do any of those look like a mad scientist, quite the same amount as Heston? No. No they don’t!

6) His cookbook also doubles as a weapon

I don’t approve of violence, but when I save up enough money to buy The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, it will always be next to my bed… not just because it will be compelling reading, not just because it’s over 500 pages, and will take at least a fortnight to read cover to cover (which I will invariably do!)… it weighs 6.3kg!! And I want to be able to say before I die, that Heston Blumenthal saved my life, because if a stranger creeps in my bedroom at night to steal my ukuleles (which they all want to do!), a 6.3kg book will make a brilliant blunt weapon… but only in self defence… well, I say self defence. If I know Olly Smith is going to be appearing somewhere close to me, perhaps masquerading as Lord Flashheart at a Blackadder convention, I’ll find him, and test my theory that The Big Fat Duck Cookbook is a brilliant weapon, and you’ll be the first to know.

Like I say, I love Heston Blumenthal

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Well then, my thoughts on Iron Chef UK… where do I start?

Let’s go back to the very beginning, Iron Chef was a Japanese cookery programme, which started in 1993, and the general jist was an accomplished chef challenges one of the “Iron Chefs” in a cook off, all based around one ingredient. With both the Iron Chef and challenger being both talented cooks, there would be some extremely flamboyant dishes created, in order to win points with the judges.

Later on, the format was picked up by Food Network who created Iron Chef USA. Now, usually I cannot stand American cookery programmes (don’t even get me started on Ina Garten, seriously, measuring everything in cups and sticks of butter, always cooking a dinner party, and her gaggle of gay friends will always be on hand to do a lovely bouquet of flowers and set the table, christs sake!), but this is a brilliant American programme, there’s no talking to camera from the chefs, just heads down, working to create wonderful elaborate dishes, the commentator and floor reporter are charming, stand back and let the food do the talking, and it’s great entertainment…

And then some idiot allowed Channel Four to buy rights to the format… brilliant work(!)

Ok, so I sound negative, but the UK format is flawed in so many ways, mainly Olly Smith, but I’ll come back to him later!

We have four brilliant Iron Chefs, in the forms of Tom Aikens, Martin Blunos, Sanjay Dwivedi and Judy Joo… all four of whom are fantastic cooks (I particularly enjoy Tom’s style of cooking, and his personality when he talks to the camera or Olly F&£”&(“*£*”E$**””)%*£”*!ING Smith shines through, and you can see he is a charismatic and charming individual! But one of the flaws is that instead of having the Iron Chef battling against another highly skilled chef, you have an unfair battle of one Iron Chef, against four talented cooks/chefs, but those who are nowhere near the standard of the Iron Chefs.

There is none of the over the top flair shown by either Iron Chefs or challengers, in comparison to Iron Chef USA, there are some dishes which look delicious, but nothing with wow factor. But it’s just not entertaining seeing the same four challengers every day, out of their depth cooking things I could easily knock up in my own kitchen. That’s not what I watch Iron Chef for, I watch Iron Chef in the same way I watch Heston Blumenthal programme, to see food I could never dream of recreating in my own kitchen! And then at the end of each day the best challenger gets a gold star. A GOLD STAR?!, I ask you, the last time I saw anyone give someone a gold star, I was in junior school, and it was when someone had done really well at a difficult sum!

But I can live with this part of the format being flawed, the biggest issue for me, is this man…

Olly Smith, Shiny Haired Aryan Buffoon

Olly Smith, Shiny Haired Aryan Buffoon

Yes, this slick haired idiot is the sole reason that Iron Chef UK will never live up to the quality of viewing, that Iron Chef USA is. This moon faced beaming individual, with the personality of a mosquito that keeps landing on you and won’t shut up is the worst thing about this programme.

Olly hit his stride at driving me mental, when I was ready to put a golf club through the TV to get rid of his voice during Battle Mackerel, when at every point he opened his mouth he made a pirate based pun. I know whenever I think of pirates, the first thought to pop into my head is “oh! mackerel!”. Infact, I’m pretty certain that in Pirates of the Caribbean, Jonny Depp’s character mostly sat about eating mackerel(!)

If maybe it was Battle Rum, I could understand pirate references, but MACKEREL?!?

Honestly(!). Olly’s over the top enthusiasm would be enough to make a tellytubby reach for a machine gun, just to shut him up!

So, what do I think of Iron Chef UK? Well, if in Series 2 (if it gets recommissioned), I’d much prefer for the format to be more similar to the Iron Chef USA format, and if Oily Smith could be left on a remote island with no contact to the outside world during filming of the next series, that’d be brilliant.

Of course, I’ll continue to watch Iron Chef UK, I love nothing more than shouting at my TV screen at that jolly wine slurping long tongued babbling gimp, Olly Smith.

You can catch Iron Chef UK on Channel 4, weekdays at 5pm, or on C4+1 at 6pm

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Hello, hello, hello! I know, a week without any blog posts. I must be honest, I’ve not been doing too much in the way of cooking in the past week, a bit busy with other stuff, and I’ve been saving money that I would usually spend on ingredients, as I went to a Doctor Who themed party on Saturday (yeah, I’m a nerd… sue me!). But I promise I’m going to make up for it, I’ll be posting a recipe tomorrow, but today, I have something different. An interview! Yes, check me out. Soon I’ll be on Masterchef, as one of the competitors who claim to be a freelance food blogger… “Kris is a freelance food blogger and musician from Preston… he’s a bit of an idiot”, or something along those lines!

Masterchef is one of the BBC’s most popular cookery shows, and this years competition has been one of the most exciting, a few tweaks, and some of the best competitors yet!! I found myself rooting for Terry in this years competition, and was fortunate enough to be able to quiz Terry on his time in the Masterchef kitchen!!

Punk Chef : How did you feel on your first day on the Masterchef set?, you looked quite nervous!

Terry : First day was exiting. I was confident enough I could come up with a half decent plate of food and finish in the top 3 no matter what the ingredients were. As for nerves, they have a camera on you the whole time and I mean the whole time. That’s some scary stuff. Plus I know I’m an idiot sometimes and was trying not to let it show.

PC : As the competition progressed, did you find it easier to keep control of your nerves, and did you have any techniques?

T : Never got over my nerves, that’s why I didn’t progress further

PC : How would you describe your cooking style?

T : Personal, loving, and on edge

PC : How much practise did you cram in between the quarter finals and semi finals? How many rabbits did you go through practising, and were your friends and family sick of rabbit eventually?

T : Not that much practise, I actually never cooked the whole thing as one before the show, just separate elements at different times. the bandage you see on my finger in the semis is a result of me slicing right through the top of my finger whilst skinning rabbits!

PC : Did you enjoy cooking whilst you were growing up?

T : Never cooked a single solitary thing in my life until the age of 20.

PC : What is your favourite comfort food?

T : Curry and plenty of naan and chapati. Made by me.

PC : Imagine you’re stranded on a desert island, you’re allowed to take 5 ingredients. The desert island in question is deserted, except for an inexplicably well stocked store cupboard, perhaps washed up from a boat which sunk nearby… what five foods would you want with you, and what would you plan on making?

T : I wouldn’t need any food. Give me a rod,a net, a spear, a rifle, and a machete and I’ll eat like a king all day every day on whatever bounty comes my way. Saying that, I would love a load of pork for a bbq every now and then!!!

PC : Do you have a cookery hero, and if so who, and why?

T : Heroes include Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Gordon Ramsay,and Anthony Bourdain. You can also include Tim, Alex and Dhruv because them 3 are simply amazing and I am always ringing/texting/mailing them hassling for little tips and tricks.

PC : What has been your favourite experience on Masterchef?

T : Favourite bit was getting the rabbit dish down, I still don’t know how I managed it.

PC : Congratulations on getting as far as you did in Masterchef 2010, you’ve gained a lot of supporters, and I’m sure we all want to know what you have planned for the future, are you going to carry on the dream of becoming a chef?

T : I’ve only just got started on this cooking thing and am buzzing to get fully into it. Am currently cheffing at a local Italian restaurant but who knows what’s round the corner

I’d like to thank Terry for taking some time out to answer the above questions, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one that wishes Terry the best of luck with his career as a full time chef!!

A Facebook fan page for Terry has been set up (by me) here

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