It is now 20 years since elBulli, Ferran Adrià’s dazzlingly ground-breaking restaurant in northern Spain, gained its third Michelin star. And 1997 was the first time I visited The Fat Duck, in Bray, the restaurant that launched the career of Heston Blumenthal: two years later, it was awarded the first of its three stars. Not bad for an old pub with an outside loo.
These two pioneering chefs took new equipment, ingredients and techniques, many gleaned from industrial food production, and applied them to a new kind of haute cuisine. Their ideas became hugely influential: soon foams, jellies and spherification were all the rage, and flasks of liquid nitrogen adorned every table.