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March 31, 2014 2:22 pm
Heston Blumenthal is relocating his acclaimed restaurant, The Fat Duck, situated in Bray, England, for a six-month spell to Melbourne, Australia. From February 2015 the migrated Duck will be housed in the Crown Towers Hotel in the city’s central Southbank area by the Yarra River.
The chef, who employs some 170 people in Bray, stated his plan to take “the entire team” from his Fat Duck kitchen with him on his first such overseas adventure while the at his three-Michelin-star restaurant undergoes restoration.
This will mean about 50 staff, with head chef Jonny Lake overseeing the new Duck. The menu will “more than less” stay the same, a spokesman said, but seasonal Australian ingredients will play their part. Mr Blumenthal will stay for the opening period and then shuttle between London and Australia.
Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of The Fat Duck in Bray, and Mr Blumenthal says the Grade II listed building, built in 1640, needs refurbishment. The main goal is to extend the space of the relatively small kitchen; the front of house will be “polished up” with new fittings. As diners can only book two months in advance at The Fat Duck in Bray, it will continue to take reservations for dates up until the Christmas period, when it will close.
The environment of the Crown Melbourne resort, in which the Towers Hotel is housed, is strikingly different to the quietly affluent Berkshire village. A self-described “large integrated resort”, it has a casino, three hotels, function rooms, restaurants and shopping and entertainment facilities.
James Packer, Crown Resorts chairman, said in a statement: “The relocation of the coveted restaurant will be a big boost for local tourism, attracting interstate and international guests to Melbourne.”
When The Fat Duck returns to Britain, the Melbourne dining room will be replaced by a second branch of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, overseen by executive head chef Ashley Palmer-Watts.
Dubai, rather than Australia, has typically been the first international target of UK restaurant brands such as The Ivy that are expanding into other markets.
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