Heston to close The Fat Duckā€¦for six months

In line with his experimental nature in the kitchen, Heston Blumenthal has announced surprise plans to temporarily move his award-winning The Fat Duck restaurant to Melbourne for six months.

The three Michelin star restaurant, often voted one of the world’s finest, will close for renovations in December and reopen in Melbourne’s Crown Towers complex in February 2015.

The entire Fat Duck team will fly off to Australia in January to open the new restaurant before returning six months later to work at its previous home in Bray, Berkshire. However Blumenthal and Ashley Palmer-Watts, the group executive head chef, will stay on in Melbourne to oversee the opening of a new branch of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, which will take The Fat Duck’s place at the five-star Crown Melbourne Resort.

Explaining the reason to move his restaurant to the other side of the world, Blumenthal said that he first thought about opening a base in Australia when he visited in 2003.

“I fell in love with the country immediately,” he said. “From that very first moment, the idea took root – someday I wanted to have a restaurant here. The restaurant scene is fantastic, the diversity exciting, and the produce incredible, but better than all of that, the people are just great fun.

“I love how Australian people celebrate good food; there is such a love of everything from coffee shops to gourmet restaurants and everything in between.”  

He added that the original home for The Fat Duck is a Grade II listed building from 1640, meaning that the move to Melbourne would allow time for it to be modernised.

Another TV chef, former MasterChef winner Matt Follas, also recently announced that he was opening a new restaurant, which will be based in the High East Street, Dorchester.

Called Follas at The Casterbridge, the new restaurant opened last month and is set to create various new hospitality and catering jobs.

By Owen Mckeon
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