Heston Blumenthal, chef at the Fat Duck in Bray, England, and food experimenter, appeared on the British TV show This Morning the other day to do a cooking demonstration. This Morning seems a lot like the American Today show; its usual cooking demonstrations tend to fall into categories like “quick and easy dinners,” “healthy eating,” and “sweet treats.” Blumenthal, however, decided to shake things up with Heston’s Volcanic Bread, based on bread that was eaten 2,000 years ago at the time of the volcanic eruption that destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii. It included ingredients like wholemeal spelt flour, camelina seeds, and coconut husk, the Daily Mail reported, and it was served with a black lava butter, a compound butter made with “salt, garum (fermented fish sauce from anchovy), soy sauce mixed with kombu, squid ink, and the juice from the heads of red prawns.” In order to make it look like it had been through a volcano—because if you’re going to be authentic, you might as well go full-out—Blumenthal added a bit of liquid nitrogen. There was smoke. It was exciting! And at the end both the bread and butter were black, except for the bright red prawn heads in the butter.
The two hosts, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, were a bit dubious, but because they are pros, they each took a bite and professed to be pleasantly surprised. “All that tastes like is prawn,” Schofield declared.
The at-home audience, however, was not impressed, and viewers tweeted their displeasure.
Which is a fair question.
Others were more direct:
Blumenthal, meanwhile, made further headlines yesterday by telling Radio Times that he wants to forbid diners at the Fat Duck from taking pictures of their food and posting them on social media. Which is kind of a natural reaction when you’re presented with a loaf of volcanic bread, no?