Script: Listening Exercise 101

John Millen
John Millen |

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Voice: One twelve inch pizza? Fine, sir. What topping would you like? We have a choice of seafood, four cheese, Italian sausage, shredded duck, Spanish tomato or worms. I can recommend the worm pizza. It’s been very popular since we introduced it on our menu a fortnight ago.

Voice: Yes, you did hear that last choice correctly. Worm pizza. In case you still can't believe what you've hearing, that’s a pizza with shredded worms on top. Delicious. Is your mouth watering? The worm pizza is the latest dining treat from English chef Heston Blumenthal, who runs a three Michelin star restaurant called The Fat Duck in the village of Bray off the M4 motorway west of London. Over the past few years, Heston has earned himself a reputation for offering his diners unusual creations such as snail congee and bacon and egg ice cream. You have to book many months ahead if you want to reserve a table at “The Fat Duck” because it is a very popular place to have dinner.

Voice: The English government recently asked Heston to advise them on how to improve the quality of food in children’s hospitals. The chef took on the challenge immediately and got to work. When he visited his first hospital, he was completely dismayed at what he found. There was pizza on the menu, but it was awful and had no nutritional value. It was just a tasteless, thick round of hard dough with a thin layer of tomato and a pinch of cheese on the top. Could hospital food really be as bad as this? Where was the protein? A meal such as this would do poorly children no good at all. It wouldn't help them get strong after being ill.

Voice: Heston knew that the pizzas the kids were eating would make them very lethargic. This is what too much starchy food does to anyone. Something had to be done, and Heston was exactly the man to do it. He decided to take dramatic action, and the pizza was his chief weapon. Heston devised a pizza topping that would show kids how much fun food could be, as well as giving them tons of much-needed protein. He shredded some cooked worms, mixed them with other tasty and nutritious ingredients and spread the mixture over the top of a thin pizza base. Then came the taste test.

Voice: The kids who ate the worm pizza thought it was delicious and didn’t hesitate to ask for second helpings. Only one young patient didn’t like the pizza and that was because Heston had injected some of the worms with tomato ketchup before cooking them. It wasn’t the worms the boy didn’t like. It was the taste of the ketchup.

Voice: Heston Blumenthal’s work on improving the standard of food in children’s hospitals isn’t all about digging up strange ingredients to put on the top of pizzas. The chef knew that something was wrong when he paid his first visit to a children’s hospital and found parents buying sandwiches to take to their children. Heston knows things will be slow to change, but worms have definitely played a big part in starting off a movement to improve the standard of food served to young patients in Britain's hospitals.