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