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Heston's Alpine Feast

Heston Blumenthal is not a man known for his prowess on the slopes. He’s more on the exotic Michelin starred cuisine level, or perhaps the culinary spectacle level. But this year, three of the UK’s most famous chefs headed for the hills to deliver an Alpine feast in the inaugural Mountain Gourmet Ski Experience. 
 
Heston, Sat Bains and Marcus Wareing took 45 guests out to Courmayeur, on the Aostan flank of Mont Blanc earlier this year, and the result was a gastronomic delight. Between them, the three chefs have a total of 10 Michelin stars. The project was born of Heston’s desire to marry his passions for skiing, mountains and food, bringing along Sat and Marcus because he knew they would be capable of taking over strange kitchens and turning out the same exquisite food.
 
Heston photo credit The Times
Heston photo credit The Times
 
Both Sat Bains and Marcus Wareing were given a restaurant each to take over, and the 45 guests split into two groups over the course of two nights, visiting Sat’s one evening, and Marcus’s the next. Heston is the genial host throughout the event, flitting between the two restaurants and chatting with the guests.
 
This year, Sat took over a converted shepherd’s hut tucked into a sheltered Alpine plateau and run by Giacomo Calosi. Guests reached the cosy mountain retreat via a private evening cable car, and a thrilling snowmobile race up the slopes to Maison Vieille, where they were greeted with a glass of prosecco by Calosi while Sat and his team cooked up a feast.
 
Marcus’s venue was La Chaumiere. It’s run by the local Grivel family, who are famous in mountaineering circles for 200 years of pioneering crampon designs. After the cable car ride up the mountain, guests took a quiet 10 minute stroll across a snowy path lit by lanterns, like something from a fairytale. 
 
Guests could enjoy plenty of skiing throughout the three day experience, with Heston cooking tasty treats, including elevenses of hot chocolate and biscuits. The three chefs delivered an experience from start to finish, with fantastic food and a friendly competition between the chefs seeing Sat Bains and Marcus Wareing completing a tiramisu challenge (Sat won, in case you were wondering, and neither tiramisu was what you might expect).
 
Sat Bains Cusine photo credit British Larder
Sat Bains Cusine photo credit British Larder
 
With this season closing in, we’re fast approaching the dates for the 2015 event, which promises to build on the success of the first. Just writing this blog about the experience is giving me more hunger pangs than I usually get in a year; nothing is better than a good, hearty meal at the end of a day on the slopes, after you’ve been burning more calories than a whole week of gym visits.
 
The 2015 experience will begin before guests even reach the slopes, with Heston hosting guests at his Perfectionist’s Cafe in Heathrow Terminal 2, before the three day extravaganza, where guests can fill their boots with some of the best food in the world!