Thursday, 5 March 2009

A feast for the imagination

OK, so we've already established that I watch little else on TV except cookery programmes. Who saw Heston's Victorian Feast? It's not often that we come across a genius at work. Heston is the Einstein of the kitchen (minus the crazy hair). For those that missed the programme, suffice it to say it was not one where you sat with notepad jotting down ingredients and instructions ready to follow later. Indeed, the bespectacled one did implore his audience "not to try this at home" as he happily boiled a cow's head, reduced the stock, froze it, centrifuged it, froze it, did some more magical reduction then poured it into a mad hatter's pocket watch mould and covered the resultant jelly with gold leaf. His guests then dipped this into a cup of tea whereupon it dissolved into the stock for his mock turtle soup! It reminded me a little of the April Fool's joke I posted on the intranet at work last year for edible beer bottles. I suggested that the specially created plastic could be melted down for soup stock. My clever ploy of offering some free samples to give away in a competition prompted a shocking number of serious entries! But even my fertile imagination could not have come up with Heston's blooming marvellous dessert. According to Heston's research (who knows what books he read?), the Victorians had a passion for jelly and erotica. It seemed sensible therefore to combine the two and this seemed a perfect excuse for the Chef and his enthusiastic band of helpers to spend a memorable hour or two in a pink sex shop picking the perfect vibrator to make his jelly wobble. Truly television at its best, and I didn't even get to mention the insects injected with tomato sauce served with 'soil and gravel'...

The reason for this post is not just to enthuse about Heston, practice writing about food and critique a television programme. It is to celebrate creativity. Heston is a man who thrives on it, cut him in half (not recommended) and he'll have it written through him. It doesn't matter whether he creates menus, posters, advertisements, films or employee engagement activities. It's about having the nerve to fire up that creativity with inspiration from the most unlikely sources; never being afraid to try something different and, possibly most important, keeping at it until you get the results you're after - it may not be exactly what you set out to do at the start, but it's giving people what they didn't know they wanted - and boy did they want it!

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