Heston Blumenthal returns to MasterChef tonight for Heston Week.
Heston Blumenthal returns to MasterChef tonight for Heston Week. CHANNEL 10

Heston feels “part of the furniture” on MasterChef

EVEN if you don't normally watch MasterChef, I encourage you to catch at least a bit of Heston Week.

I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Heston Blumenthal for Weekend magazine's cover story while he was in the country filming for Channel 10's reality cooking show and working on his Melbourne restaurant Dinner by Heston.

He will feature on the show tonight through Thursday in a week of extravagant pop-up challenges filmed across Melbourne.

It will be nice to see the MasterChef contestants - there are only 10 of them left now - getting out of the kitchen and interacting with the public.

This upcoming week Heston will have them plating up food everywhere from the Melbourne Star observation wheel to Brighton Beach's iconic bathing houses and the historic Ripponlea Estate.

But it's not just the locations that will have the contestants thinking outside the box - there's also Heston himself.

A true visionary of mind-bending cuisine, his challenges will move beyond mere flavour combinations or ingredients into the conceptual.

This is the man who serves his food with a side of theatre.

He invented hot and cold tea (served in the same glass), re-imagined breakfast as bacon and egg ice cream (see the photo below) and serves some of his signature dishes with carefully chosen music.


Heston Blumenthal's famous bacon and egg ice cream. Supplied by SBS TV.
Heston Blumenthal's famous bacon and egg ice cream.

It's the type of food most of us rarely, or ever, eat (there's a reported three-year wait to get a table at his flagship restaurant The Fat Duck in the UK) but the sheer creativity will make for great viewing.

It's also worth noting he doesn't do things like this in many other countries. Our version of MasterChef is the only reality cooking show in which he regularly appears.

He told me he feels like "part of the furniture" now on the MasterChef set, and I think the show is better for it.

The bulk of his other TV appearances are in his own documentaries, featuring pet projects like fantastical medieval feasts and his recent work with UK and US space agencies to create dishes, including a tea and bacon sandwich, for astronaut Tim Peake.

Yes, Heston's ideas are out there, but that's what makes him, and everything he touches, interesting.

He brings a child-like sense of wonder back to food and I think we could all do with a bit more magic in our lives.