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World's best chef to receive Honorary Degree – University of Reading

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World's best chef to receive Honorary Degree

Release Date 08 August 2005

544Acclaimed chef Heston Blumenthal, whose restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, was recently voted the best in the world, will be awarded an honorary degree at the University of Reading's summer graduation ceremonies in 2006. Professor Gordon Marshall, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: "Heston has a long-standing and fruitful relationship with our School of Food Biosciences. As it's the largest and most successful food science department in the UK, we thought it highly appropriate to recognise the contribution that Heston – a Berkshire resident – has made to the promotion of food science." Professor Donald Mottram, of the University's School of Food Biosciences, said: "While Heston has been developing a novel approach to food at his restaurant, The Fat Duck in Bray, he has had frequent contact with the School of Food Biosciences. He visits for discussions on all sorts of aspects of food science, including the microbiological safety of low temperature cooking, the application of novel food processing methods, meat flavour chemistry and the chemistry of food flavours. He and his staff also helped students on the food product development modules. "The essential aspect of Heston's approach to his enterprise is his use of food science and chemistry. He is recognised as the leading authority on 'molecular gastronomy' the relationship between chemical and physical properties of food and its presentation and perception by humans. "When you meet Heston, what is so striking is his love of his subject - food and the underlying science. He seeks an understanding about the way the human responds to sensory stimuli; why certain flavours complement each other; why meat texture changes with cooking temperature; why the size of ice crystals in ice-cream affect its texture; how we respond to different sensory perceptions; how food processing can be used to develop new sensory experiences; and much more. He is continually seeking new ways of introducing science into his restaurant. "He is also dedicated to interesting others in science. He writes regular columns in newspapers, has had a TV series entitled 'Kitchen Chemistry', and has published a book 'Family Food' aimed at interesting children in food preparation. He has just written a book with the Royal Society of Chemistry called 'Kitchen Chemistry', which is aimed at GCSE and A-level students and is being distributed free to all secondary schools. "There is a great need in this country, and throughout much of the world, to promote science as a subject relevant to all. This needs to be promoted through different routes, but especially to young people in ways that can complement formal school classes. Heston is an excellent communicator and is promoting the practical, everyday aspects of Food Science through his publications and TV series, and also through the media, which has taken up with some enthusiasm the scientific approach he takes to the food he presents in his restaurant." end Contacts: Monica Brown, Lotus PR T: 0207 575 3292 M: 07788 927 191 E: monica@lotuspr.co.uk Craig Hillsley, Press Officer, University of Reading. T: 0118 378 7388 M: 07834 006 243 E: c.hillsley@rdg.ac.uk

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