Regular readers of Primetime will perhaps know that I’m a sucker for Christmas cookery shows; there’s a bit of Delia, Nigella, Jamie et al in my Christmas dinner every year, but I have to say, nothing Heston offered up for his Christmas feast will be appearing on my dinner table…
At least, I hope not, given that two of his feature dishes included whale spew and a mouse. I could most definitely get through the whole of Christmas without encountering either.
Heston had to really search out his whale vomit – officially called ambergris – but he eventually got some from a dealer in France. This of course conjured up a mental skit of Heston sloping off down a French alley, meeting a shady man and asking if he could score him an eighth of spew. Apparently, the whale vomit is very expensive, but we didn’t get to hear how expensive. I can’t believe there’s even a market for something so gross.
Moving on and the mouse became the centre of a white chocolate lolly which wasn’t greeted with much enthusiasm from the celebrity guests/hapless victims Heston had invited along to ‘enjoy’ this feast. Among them were Mariella Frostrup, Charlie Higson, James Purefoy and Arabella Weir. Poor sods.
And Boris, who caught the dormouse got a nasty bite from it for his troubles, and what followed involved anaesthetic and tights. Yeah, don’t ask; you can watch it on 4oD if you really want to know.
His dessert ensemble looked spectacular though, but I personally was still dry heaving over the whale vomit and mouse concoctions too much to fully appreciate the culinary artistry involved.
In short, while Heston is without doubt the pioneer of a new wave of TV chefs, I think I’ll stick to my Delia, Nigella and Jamie. I might even get racy and chuck in a bit of Gordon Ramsay on the big day, but sorry Heston, nothing you made inspired me to attempt to emulate it. Nil, nada, and while some of my Christmas dinner may well look like whale spew and fried mouse, it won’t be.