Melbourne has scored a major culinary coup with the announcement that esteemed chef Heston Blumenthal will shut the doors to his three Michelin starred restaurant, The Fat Duck in the UK, and reopen in the world’s most liveable city.
A former recipient of ‘The Best Restaurant in the World’, The Fat Duck will close for the Christmas break and relocate for six months to Crown Towers in January 2015, with an opening date marked for February.
This will be Blumenthal’s first international venture, which was met with cheers from the audience when he made the announcement at a media conference earlier this week.
“This is not a pop-up restaurant. This is not a chef coming over to do a few weeks in someone else’s restaurant. We are going to pick up The Fat Duck, the whole team, and fly them over,” he said.
“It will probably be the furthest migration that any duck, let alone a big fat duck, has made.”
The Fat Duck will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2015 and is in need of a major renovation. This coupled with the fact that Blumenthal has a long-held desire to open a restaurant in Australia made the choice to migrate to Melbourne an easy one.
“I just couldn’t bear the thought of closing for an extended period. When we first started conversations with Crown I saw the potential of the situation and really began to hope. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
“The restaurant scene (in Melbourne) 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.”
And foodies fear not. At the end of the six-month period, The Fact Duck will not leave a Heston-sized hole; in its place will be a permanent fixture – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
Dinner in Melbourne will be the fifth jewel in Blumenthal’s crown, with other establishments including its namesake in London, The Perfectionists’ Café at Heathrow Airport and The Hinds Head, The Crown at Bray and The Fact Duck all in Bray in the UK.
Crown Resorts Chairman, James Packer said, “To attract an internationally renowned chef and innovator of Heston’s calibre is a reflection on Melbourne’s culinary reputation and Crown’s commitment to dining excellence.
“The relocation of the coveted restaurant will be a big boost for local tourism, attracting interstate and international guests to Melbourne so they can experience a once in a lifetime dining opportunity.”