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‘Something diabolical but delicious’: Heston Blumenthal’s ‘Gothic Horror Feast’
journal contributionposted on 31.07.2019, 00:00 by Donna BrienDonna Brien
This article explores how chef and author Heston Blumenthal has drawn on Gothic and other popular literature to inspire his multimedia output, with a focus on the ‘Gothic Horror Feast’ episode of the second series of his popular television series, Heston’s Feasts (2010). In this episode, Blumenthal himself uses Gothic literature as he draws on some of his supposed favourite Gothic tales to inspire an edible feast, in which, he states, he wants to recreate what is for him the pleasure of Gothic literature – ‘that spine chilling thrill of being terrified but wanting to come back for more’. The guests at his feast are filmed as they foray into this unknown territory, experiencing a range of responses to the Gothic-inspired food – including fear, horror and disgust – and finding words to articulate these responses. Finally, viewers of the television series watch and experience this brief but surprisingly intense trip into the Gothic at a safe remove. Drawing on both Contemporary Gothic and food studies scholarship, this article will use this detailed example to investigate this specialist form of culinary television.