Heston Blumenthal is set to close the doors of his award-winning The Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire and shift the entire operation to Crown Resorts in Melbourne, Australia.
In an unprecedented move for a restaurant of such repute, Blumenthal will take the entire Fat Duck team with him to Australia for a six-month relocation, kicking off in February 2015.
The Fat Duck will then return to the UK after its half-year sojourn, with Blumenthal and group executive head chef Ashley Palmer-Watts opening a ‘Dinner by Heston Blumenthal’ restaurant in its place to secure lasting ties with Australia.
Blumenthal said the timing of the project was “serendipitous”: he has long had a desire to open in Australia, The Fat Duck wanted to celebrate its milestone 20th anniversary in 2015 in an extraordinary fashion, the building in Bray was due for renovation, and Crown Melbourne wanted to enhance its dining offerings.
“This is an incredible opportunity and I am thrilled that it has worked out the way it has,” said Blumenthal. “The Fat Duck is part of a Grade II listed building, so I always knew there would come a time when it would need a little attention and the building itself would require a bit of modernisation — after all, it was built in 1640. I just couldn’t bear the thought of closing for an extended period, though. 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.”
Whilst at Crown Melbourne Resort, The Fat Duck will offer the same dining experience that earned it three Michelin stars 11 years previously and made it one of the most lauded restaurants in the world.
Meanwhile, the building in Bray will have its interiors modernised, creating exciting new work areas — particularly in the kitchen — while still preserving its architectural integrity and historical context.
The dining room will be refurbished as well, but the interior design will remain largely unaffected, keeping the room as the perfect stage for the dining experience as a whole.
Following The Fat Duck’s return home to the UK, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will take up residence within Crown Melbourne Resort, becoming the only restaurant the chef has in his portfolio outside of the UK. It joins ranks with The Fat Duck, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal located in London, The Hinds Head, The Crown at Bray, and The Perfectionists’ Cafe.