Fat Duck to fly to Melbourne

Fat Duck to fly to Melbourne

The Fat Duck and Noma, two of the world's top restaurants, will move a bit nearer to gourmets in Singapore - for a few months next year.

British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal will close The Fat Duck in Britain for six months and relocate it to Melbourne from February, he announced in Australia yesterday.

Last Saturday, Danish celebrity chef Rene Redzepi said he would move Noma to Tokyo, Japan, for two months "in the beginning of 2015", in an announcement on the website of his restaurant.

Both chefs said they would fly their teams to the temporary locations, but work with local ingredients.

Blumenthal and his staff will set up shop for the first time outside Britain at Crown Melbourne resort, as renovation is carried out at the site of his three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Bray, which was built in 1640, reported the Daily Mail.

After six months, The Fat Duck will return to Britain and the restaurant in Australia will be renamed Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, said the report.

"This is not a pop-up restaurant, this is not a guest chef coming over and doing a few weeks in somebody else's restaurant," the 47-year-old was quoted as saying. "We are going to pick up The Fat Duck, the whole team, and fly them over here."

He said he fell in love with Australia the first time he went there in 2003. "From that very first moment, the idea took root - some day I wanted to have a restaurant there."

He added: "The restaurant scene is fantastic, the diversity exciting and the produce incredible, but better than all of that, the people are just great fun."

Blumenthal's spokesman Monica Brown said the chef met Crown Resorts executive deputy chairman John Alexander two years ago and the idea for the restaurant in Melbourne grew out of their meeting.

The menu in Australia will stay the same as that in Britain, but use local produce, she said.

Blumenthal will not be based in Melbourne for the full six months as he has to look after four other establishments back home, she added.

Redzepi's announcement was thinner on details. He said he would announce "final details: of what, where and when" in June.

He promised that "our entire staff will move to Tokyo" and that "we'll bring our mindset and sensibilities to the best of pristine winter produce from all over Japan".

He said he had been secretly planning to relocate Noma, which was named the world's best restaurant by Restaurant Magazine from 2010 to 2012, after a trip to Japan around 2009. Invited to the country by chef Yoshihiro Murata of Kikunoi restaurant, Redzepi said he was "awestruck by the richness of Japanese food culture".

In a post on Twitter, he assured fans that the announcement was "not an April Fool's joke".

The Fat Duck topped Restaurant magazine's 50 Best list in 2005. Last year, Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca came in first, and Noma dropped to second place.

This article was published on April 1 in The Straits Times.

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