Part chef, part scientist, part Harry Hill – Heston Blumenthal is back on our screens with a whole new mission, an impossible one apparently. This episode throws Heston out of his £150 per head (isn’t there meant to be some kind of recession?!) restaurant and into the delightfully sparse kitchens of an NHS hospital. Can he re-invigorate their menu so the children’s ward doesn’t end up committing mass food inspired suicide via their tinned spaghetti hoops? Yes, quite easily, as anyone could make this hospital’s menu of burnt ‘pizza’ and waffles more interesting. Heston’s Mission Possible.
You know what to expect when a TV programme has Heston’s name in the title. Cue crazy food experiments and shots of people turning their heads away in disgust at said experiments, followed by their nodding heads of approval once these new foods are wedged into their locked jaws. However, this episode of his new show focuses upon children, and as we all know, if challenged, most children will stuff any food into their mouth because they are easier to manipulate than Nick Clegg. This is something Heston knows, so when presented with the mission of enlivening the food of the children’s ward he creates a menu that is entitled, I bet you can’t eat this. The suffering children are then given such sophisticated menu choices as, stuffed tomato eyeballs, worm pizza (actual worm pizza), bogey smoothies and vomit soup.
The real ‘impossible’ in Heston’s Mission Impossible is winning over the Hospital board and kitchen staff, but one character stands in his way; Jeff, Head of Catering, the Professor Snape to Heston’s Dumbledore, (the wizard comparisons had to be made eventually…) When in shot, he mumbles pessimistically about how Heston will never be able to change the Hospital’s menu due to budgeting concerns and lack of staff. Annoyingly this lack of staff problem stems from the fact Jeff has 30 + cooks working on the functions and staff menus, and a mere cooking force of two women working on the children’s ward menu.
Heston’s Mission Impossible is great TV fodder for the foodies amongst us and this latest edition to cookery programming combines Heston’s entertaining food experiments with the structure of TV hits like Jamie Oliver’s American Food Revolution. Something to look forward to later down the line in this series will be the Navy episode, we can only hope there’ll be some sort of deep fried sock/boot concoction served in a seashell to get the sailors saliva glands going.