Heston enjoys Christmas at Petworth House

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Latest update 17.12.2013 12:42

Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal has given Petworth House’s ‘A Festive Feast for the Eyes’ fantasy food experience the official ‘ thumbs up’.

The Michelin starred chef recently visited the Christmas spectacle, which presents seven of Petworth’s kitchen rooms dressed as if in the midst of preparations for a huge feast, each one depicting an imagined culinary scene. Trays of exotic foods await their journey to the table, surrounded by eccentric decorations, dramatic lighting, atmospheric sounds and kitchen characters in extraordinary costumes.

Here’s what Heston had to say

'I’m so impressed with Petworth’s ‘A Feast for the Eyes’; it’s like a cross between a stylish Christmas tv ad and one of my ‘Feast’ shows,” said Heston. “It really brings these historic kitchens to life, but in a way which is pure food fantasy – I love it!'

So, how was the show created?

'When faced with the challenge of creating a month-long ‘spectacular’, I must admit I took a small mental gulp,' says Petworth’s Event Co-ordinator Ian Pearce. 'Once I started thinking about it though, the ideas came thick and fast, and there was plenty of inspiration – from historic menus, the sumptuous Flemish food paintings of the 17th century, and the Gothic fantasy-style sets from Tim Burton’s films.

I had to find ways round potential conservation issues that we had never dealt with before - how to safely flood an historic area being one - and there have been all sorts of other weird conundrums, such as how to safely install a 2.5m long gingerbread recreation of Petworth House, complete with electric lighting! It’s been terrific fun though, and the results were worth all the hard work.'

Petworth’s ‘A Feast for the Eyes’ Christmas spectacular runs until 22 December, Sat to Wed, 10.30am-3.30pm. Adult £6, child £3, members free. Booking advised on 0844 249 1895 or online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house. Entry is on a timed ticket basis.