World Chefs: Blumenthal shuns New York for Melbourne

Tue Apr 8, 2014 4:09pm EDT
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By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - British chef Heston Blumenthal, famed for his bacon and egg ice cream, credits fans, friends and the "food explosion" in Australia for his decision to move The Fat Duck to Melbourne for six months while the Michelin-starred restaurant is being renovated.

From February 2015, the Fat Duck menu, staff and high-tech equipment will be all set to recreate Blumenthal's 3-1/2-hour dining experience in Australia, featuring the likes of grain mustard ice cream, snail porridge and his Alice in Wonderland-inspired mock turtle soup.

The entertainment goes beyond smell, taste, touch and sight, as his Sound of the Sea dish transports diners to the beach with an iPod Shuffle tucked in a conch shell playing the sounds of splashing waves and seagulls.

The Fat Duck's move is Blumenthal's first opening outside Britain, where the 47-year-old has Dinner by Heston at the Mandarin Oriental in London and two pubs in the village of Bray.

The restaurant at Melbourne's Crown casino will turn into Dinner by Heston Blumenthal when The Fat Duck returns home after renovations to the 375-year-old building near Windsor, England are done.

Blumenthal spoke to Reuters about Australia's appeal, the disincentives to running a restaurant in New York and toying with the senses of his diners.

Q: Why have you chosen Australia to open your first restaurant outside the UK?

A: I've actually got some really good friends over here. The TV shows ("Heston's Feasts" and "How to Cook Like Heston") have done really well over here from the UK. I've signed up for this relationship with Brevilles (appliances). I've just started a relationship with Coles (supermarkets).   Continued...

British three Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal attends a photocall to launch his new show "How to Cook Like Heston" as part of the MIPTV, the International Television Programs Market, event in Cannes in this April 2, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/Files