Heston Blumenthal Opens up About His ADHD Diagnosis
Heston Blumenthal, the iconic superchef responsible for his unusual flavour combinations and zany dishes has opened up about his ADHD diagnosis and his struggle to find acceptance and love from his parents.
Blumenthal, 50, is due to appear on Masterchef this week and is one of the world’s most acclaimed chefs. His restaurant, The Fat Duck, is one of Britain’s few three Michelin star restaurants. The Fat Duck Cook Book is a worldwide bestseller and Blumenthal recently received the World’s 50 Restaurants Life Achievement Award.
The celebrity chef has revealed that after his recent diagnosis with ADHD he has accepted his condition and wouldn’t change things, despite thinking that it may make him difficult to work with.
He has also revealed that it was only last year that his mother finally acknowledged his achievements and that his father kept his feelings to himself until shortly before he passed away.
“My dad only told me he loved me on his deathbed (in 2011),” Blumenthal says. “I said “I love you” and he said “I love you too”.
“It was only when I heard him say it that I thought ‘that’s the first time you’ve ever said it’.
“When The Fat Duck cookbook came out – it took me six years to do that book and I was so proud of it – she (mother) said to me “that’s not a book”. It (the hurt) got right in there (points to gut) so I had to fight.
“That (lack of recognition from parents) was the drive — ‘I’m going to do better than anyone else’.
“My mum’s brothers went to Oxford and Cambridge. She was stiff upper lip. But she’s changed now.
“Last year we were at lunch and I said “cheers mum” and she turned around and looked at me and said “I’m really proud of you”.
“At first I laughed because I was so shocked. I went “you’ve never said that out loud” and we hugged. My relationship with my mum is better than it has ever been in my entire life.”
Earlier this year, Blumenthal was diagnosed with ADHD after a psychologist friend had suspected it. His diagnosis was confirmed in a series of tests.
“My head gets very busy sometimes,” Blumenthal says. “I’m not so much forgetful as a thought comes into my head and knocks another one out immediately.
“I’ll come down the stairs with an armful of stuff and think ‘I can’t even remember why I went up the stairs in the first place’.”
Heston believes that his ADHD may be the force behind his wacky creations and multi-sensory dining, like ice cream pork pie, lickable wallpaper and plum-shaped meat fruit.
“I might be difficult to live with and work with sometimes but the other side of it is that when I’m working, my god the questions – I wouldn’t swap it for the world,” Blumenthal says.
“It (ADHD) is stigmatised. There are children judged on this just because they don’t fit into the education system.”