ranking the books of heston blumenthal

heston blumenthal best book

Which is Heston Blumenthal’s best book? Blumenthalophile that I am I own them all, so I thought I’d compile them all in one list. I’ve ranked them from least favourite to most favourite. He’s authored 7 distinct books spanning 20+ years (with a couple of compendiums, deluxe editions and best-ofs) with different themes and ideas.

Video version of this review here:

As a big fan of Heston Blumenthal I made a list of how I rank his books.

7. 📚 Heston’s Fantastical Feasts: the menus and themes are fun, but all of it is so out there you’re never likely to do it. It’s all very specific. My full review here.

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6. 📚 Family Food: written in 2002 and it is definitely a reined-in Heston. There’s lots of recipes and discussion but very little of it has the wizardry we associate with him, besides a few standouts like Herve This’s chocolate mousse.

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5. 📚 Is This a Cookbook?: it’s an adorable book (and nice to have one ‘normal’ size!) with beautiful David McKean illustrations, and lots of ruminations from Heston on how a recipe works. There’s also a whole chapter on cooking with cricket powder which is… different.

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4. 📚 The Fat Duck Cookbook: a proper labour of love, much like the restaurant. The first section is a history of the venue, the second detailed breakdowns of significant recipes, and the third a science of food. A very heavy read with small font and it weighs a ton! Read this to get inside his mind, but otherwise it’s a curio. My full review here.

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3. 📚 Historic Heston ever-fascinated with the history of recipes in the UK, this is a timeline of dishes that he has found with his methods to modernise them. You’re very unlikely to cook anything from it, but you understand a lot about how he cooks and how to adapt recipes. My full review is here.

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2. 📚 In Search of Perfection: from the TV series of the same name, this remains very enjoyable and readable where he recreates a classic dish from the ground up. The core concept was to keep the recipes achievable for the home cook so there’s lots to attempt if you’re up for a challenge. I also get the sensation he’s really enjoying himself.

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1. 📚 Heston Blumenthal at Home: strikes the balance right between recipes and food theory. Excellent photography, a real deep understanding of how a recipe works, and the feeling that these genuinely are things he enjoys cooking.

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Do you own one of these cookbooks? Which is Heston Blumenthal’s best book? Let me know in the comments!

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