The world’s most eccentric chef is returning to MasterChef to lead the contestants - and us - on the most spectacular, awe-inspiring road trip across Victoria. With his penchant for obscure culinary concepts, unexpected flavour pairings, visually spectacular dishes and, of course, lots of dry ice, it's best to buckle up for a wild ride.
Heston is no stranger to Melbourne, largely due to his six month stay back in 2014 to establish the first Blumenthal restaurant outside of the UK, The Fat Duck at Crown Casino. Now trading as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, the venture afforded the world-renowned food revolutionary a chance to challenge himself creatively. "I knew it was going to be good because change is always good, you know."
Fittingly, the MasterChef road trip promises to be full of change, with Heston, the judges and contestants stopping at four vastly different locations on their journey from Mildura to Mornington.
Heston's advice to contestants taking the road trip with him? To engage with the food, of course, but also with themselves and, most importantly, the surrounding environment. "The locations are so magical," he says of the trip, which showcases Victoria’s eclectic produce. As a seasoned chef who's spent his fair share of time in box-like, windowless kitchens, he cautions contestants against becoming tunnel-visioned. "Take a minute and smell the roses," he entreats.
The contestants, it seems, do not disappoint. He recalls an "ah ha" moment shared with Matt Preston while tasting a contestant's dish early on in the journey, by the banks of the Murray river. "[The dish] connected me with that exact moment in time," he explains. Nothing else on the planet mattered."
We can expect a steady stream of similarly stellar creations throughout the road trip, according to Heston. "There are some dishes that... are just as good as anything I’ve eaten in any restaurant in the world.” It's these experiences that keep the British-born chef returning to MasterChef Australia year after year. So far, Heston has appeared in all but one season, and jokes, "it might be my life’s work!"
5 Heston Hallmarks We Hope To See On His Road Trip
1. Unusual, epic locations
2. Scientific cooking equipment
You might assume liquid nitrogen, atomiser guns, heat lamps and sugar blowing pumps belong in a laboratory, not a kitchen. Heston would disagree. If you're not wearing safety goggles and gloves, are you really cooking?
3. Weird and wonderful flavour combinations
At last season's Brighton Beach ice cream team challenge, Heston encouraged contestants to explore disastrous-sounding flavour combos such as Mustard Ice Cream with Bacon and French Fries, and Lemon and Pine Nut Ice Cream with Rosemary. Needless to say, the risky recipes paid off, leaving Heston proud as punch.
4. An innovative take on a much-loved dish
In his MasterClass last season, Heston revolutionised the way we think about chocolate mouse, while also doing the impossible by making everyone's favourite comfort food, roast chicken, taste even better. He has applied the same 'Heston touch' to roast lamb and scrambled eggs, as well.
5. A mind-blowing signature dish
Heston has burst through the doors to the MasterChef kitchen with some jaw-dropping culinary masterpieces over the years, including 2015's Botrytis Cinerea and last season's Verjus in Egg (pictured below). His MO is creating dishes where all is not what it seems, and we can't wait to find out what he serves up this season.