Blumenthal is, of course, the culinary mastermind behind three-MICHELIN-starred The Fat Duck, just down the road from The Hind’s Head in Bray, where he made a name for himself as a pioneer in multi-sensory cooking, food pairing and flavour encapsulation by advocating a scientific understanding in cooking. The menu at The Hind’s Head features his interpretations of classic British pub food and other historical dishes.
For his debut showcase at the F1 Paddock Club, Blumenthal will be bringing a taste of “ye olde Britain” to Singapore with signature dishes such as his Lapsang Souchong tea-smoked salmon with sour cream butter, caviar and soda bread, veal chop with celeriac puree, glazed carrots and sauce reform (an English variation of sauce poivrade), as well as roasted scallops with scallop tartare, white chocolate foam and caviar.
We chat with Blumenthal about his connection to the Grand Prix — yes, Blumenthal is a licenced race car driver — and what he’s going to be showcasing at the Singapore Formula 1 Paddock Club this September.
What are you going to be doing at the Formula 1 Paddock Club in September?
Tap dancing! (laughs) No, we’re bringing in dishes from The Hind’s Head, which historically has been a pub for the last 300 to 400 years. It used to be the pub to go to outside of London. The queen went there in 1963 with the heads of state on a bus — imagine that! Prime ministers and presidents, just on a bus. We’ve actually got a photo of it upstairs. [Actor] Errol Flynn used to live in Bray and he used to drink so much he’d run up these massive bar bills, and to pay them off, he’d bring a lamb or a goat and they’d put it on for Sunday lunch. And in fact, I found out that the guy who founded molecular gastronomy [Hungarian physicist Nicholas Kurti] actually had his wedding reception at The Hinds Head. This pub it has a lot of history to it and you’ve got all these connections. So, you could say we’re bringing a bit of ye olde Britain to the Grand Prix.
How are you going to bring all this to life for visitors?
I haven’t got the permission yet for the live venison running down the track, but we’ll bring in some snippets of trivia about the food. Loads of little stories, we’ll print them up and people can read them if they’re interested and this will connect them to the food they’re eating.
I have some ideas to tie it all into the Grand Prix. I’d like to do something with grilling, barbecue or smoking, because rubber and charcoal both come from trees. I want to bring that in somehow, even if it’s just the smell. The smell of smoke in historical oven cooking. The combination of rubber and carbon charcoal, both of which come from trees. I want to evoke a sense of curiosity, a little bit of playfulness and discovery. Ultimately, it’s about emotions that connects the food to a sense of place.
And what’s your emotional connection to the Grand Prix?
I used to race! I did about five or six races, not anywhere near Formula 1 level of course, but I’ve still got my hot, sweaty race suit somewhere. I love racing, it calms my head down. I’ve got ADHD, I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it’s extreme, my head is really, really busy. Cooking, racing, martial arts and table tennis — these are the only things that when I’m doing them, I don’t think of anything else.
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The smoked salmon dish (right) — we’ve done that for 10 years now at The Hind’s Head — and the scallops with white chocolate foam and caviar. The core of that comes from The Fat Duck where we were looking at compounds in different foods and, from that, it gave us the idea to make combinations of different foods that are unusual or surprising, but taste delicious, like white chocolate and caviar. Our posh version of Coronation chicken is also on the menu. It’s a childhood favourite of mine, they make great sandwiches.
We want the quality to be exactly the way it is at The Hind’s Head, so yes, we’ve got 10 to 12 people coming from our kitchen team. I’ll be there myself for the F1 weekend. I won’t be physically chopping onions, but I’ll be there causing chaos and chasing the deer off the starting grid (laughs).