The Best Under-the-Radar Food Show on Television…

Michelin-starred Heston Blumenthal's, the Ferran Adria of Britain, show from BBC is being shown on NBC's cable channel, Planet Green. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, awesome.

A few days ago I was changing the channel and I came across In Search of Perfection on Planet Green.  British chef extraordinare, owner and genius behind The Fat Duck in Bray, England, Heston Blumenthal was trying to come up with the perfect Fish and Chips.  This is not just a typical cooking show, with the enthusiastic cook cheerily submerging the stiff battered pollack fillets into a vat of boiling oil, and rhapsodizing, “Mmm…doesn’t that smell good?”

Blumenthal is one-of-kind and his search is about not just about developing a delicious dish, but getting to the essence of that dish–what does that dish mean to us, when we eat it, why do we crave it?  So he delves wholeheartedly into

(1) the type of fish–visiting speciality fish mongers in Cornwall, exploring the firmness and delicacy of various types of fish, which ones will hold batter well against its flesh;

(2) the chemical consistency of the batter–visiting an MRI lab in Cambridge and looking at the electrochemical composition of various types of batter (so as not to get one that’s too soggy) and

(3) exploring different varietes of potatoes–their shape, starch levels, taste–to find which one makes the perfect, hearty, but light and crunchy chip.

(4) finally, he gets to the essence of the dish by the smell he associates with the traditional English recipe–pickled onion vinegar-which he atomizes and puts in a little spritz can to spray on his dish.

Search is an amazing food odyssey for anyone who is totally passionate about food and is curious to explore that in-depth aspects of their favorite dishes.  The show gets to our love of certain dishes, and why we love them, and Blumenthal’s zany, focused genius and his desire to take something loved and familiar to the next level.

Weekdays at 6pm on Planet Green.

(Fish and Chips episode):

The Perfect Burger episode, very very intense (I wanted to eat a burger immediately after this episode)


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