Food and Drink October 12, 2011
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Hestons Berkshire

The past year has been a busy and exciting one for me. I opened my first restaurant outside of Bray – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London – and recorded a new TV series, Heston’s Mission Impossible. It was great to be able to try and help improve the quality of food available in places such as hospitals and on aeroplanes. As always though, my attention has been drawn back to my home county and, in particular, the delightful village of Bray.

The county of Berkshire is one of the few places that is blessed with all the opportunities of being close to London, whilst offering all the benefits of country living – a truly rare find. The excellent quality of the county’s fine producers is reflected in the standard of restaurants that can be found in Berkshire. We have the luxury of being able to source some of the best produce in Britain right from our own doorstep. Local farm, Waltham Place Farm, is one of the only bio-dynamic farms in the country and it is where we purchase the majority of our vegetable produce for the restaurants. At The Hinds Head pub we also use the local Rebellion Brewery.

I sometimes wonder what would have been, had my parents not decided to up sticks and move from London to the Berkshire countryside. I certainly don’t believe I would have been able to give my family such a wonderful home, nor would I have found the perfect location to set up The Fat Duck and develop my career as a chef.

Berkshire is more than a location with beautiful scenery and fantastic food; it also has such an amazing sense of community. That’s what gives the county its life. From Windsor Castle to all the local parishes, pubs and schools, the communities of Berkshire are vibrant and bring the rural heritage and all of the county’s attractions to life. Above all, Berkshire is a very beautiful county and many of the buildings are steeped in history. The Crown at Bray started life as two cottages in the 16th Century, The Fat Duck dates back to approximately 1560, and The Hinds Head is a young contender dating from around 1690; it was, in fact, the age of these buildings that inspired me to research the dishes of those times and to explore our gastronomic history.

Britain has a wonderful, rich and celebrated culinary past and I have been introducing dishes influenced by this heritage in my establishments for some time – something which continues to be my focus for the future.


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