In December 2014, Heston Blumenthal will close the doors of his award-winning The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, UK and reopen in February 2015 with Crown Resorts in Melbourne, Australia. In an unprecedented move, Heston will take the entire Fat Duck team with him to Australia for a massive six month relocation. However, upon The Fat Duck’s return to the UK after their half-year sojourn, Melbourne will not be left empty handed. In the same location as the temporary The Fat Duck at Crown Melbourne Resort, Heston and Group Executive Head Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts will open ‘Dinner by Heston Blumenthal’, securing lasting ties with Australia.
Both The Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will occupy the same space in the award-winning Crown Towers hotel in Southbank, Melbourne’s urban centre and cultural hub. This ground breaking culinary project will encourage diners from around the world to visit Melbourne generating extensive exposure and benefits for the city, Victoria and Australia.
The timing was serendipitous: Heston 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 already impressive dining offerings.
Heston comments, “This is an incredible opportunity and I am thrilled that it has worked out the way it has. 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.”
Crown Resorts Chairman, James Packer says, “Heston’s decision to relocate The Fat Duck to our Melbourne resort is an incredible result for Crown Resorts and the Victorian tourism industry. 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.”
The first time Heston visited Australia was in 2003. “I fell in love with the country immediately,” he states. “From that very first moment, the idea took root – someday I wanted to have a restaurant there. 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.”
Whilst at Crown Melbourne Resort, The Fat Duck will offer the same magical dining experience that earned it three Michelin stars in Bray 11 years previously: the full Tasting Menu, the flawless and relaxed service, and the multi-sensory journey of history, nostalgia, emotion and memory that has made it one of the most lauded restaurants in the world. Half the world away, the building in Bray will have its interiors modernised, creating exciting new work areas – particularly in the kitchen – whilst 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’ Café.