Hand-selected wines from 500+
Australian wineries delivered to your door!

Alert

The maximum quantity permitted for this item is , if you wish to purchase more please call 1300 303 307
Food

Migration of the Fat Duck

If you have gastronomic tendencies, you would have known that Heston Blumenthal migrated his Fat Duck restaurant, staff, cutlery, crockery, lock, stock and barrel to Melbourne earlier this year. Most restaurateurs would say that the whole idea is too big, too costly and just plain crazy!

But accepting limitations is not part of Heston’s DNA. As a teenager with no background or training in cooking, he decided food was to be his focus and at 18, after a truncated probation week at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire (then considered one of Britain’s finest), decided he was going to teach himself and obsessively began reading, deconstructing, reconstructing and experimenting.

“If you obsess over failure then you become scared, you don’t take risks and work becomes a tireless chore,” he says. “Failure does not exist in a truly creative world – failure is the opportunity to learn and discover.”

A brave start

In 1995, he opened The Fat Duck with only a month’s commercial kitchen experience and the result was a unique, multi-sensory experience that bent flavour and infused it with whimsy, alchemy and nostalgia that challenged tradition, technique and dining in general.

Since then, Heston has gone on to rule the food world: The Fat Duck has held three Michelin stars for a decade; he opened Dinner By Heston that now has two stars; the one-starred The Hinds Head; The Crown at Bray village pub and The Perfectionists’ Café. Outside the Michelin system, his restaurants have been voted best in the world and have remained in the upper echelons of the globe’s best 50 restaurants.

He has created eight cookbooks, seven TV series, has been awarded an O.B.E. for his services to British gastronomy and been admitted to The Royal British Society of Chemistry as a fellow.

A gentleman of the kitchen

Blumenthal is one the most celebrated people of our time, but face to face, you get the sense that the trappings of fame hold no interest. He is warm, polite, respectful and engaging.

So why does he have such an obsession with food? A clue to this riddle might lie in the fact that he has synaesthesia; a neurological anomaly in which the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary stimulation of a second. In simple terms, Heston associates colours with letters and sounds with tastes. In Heston’s world, food and everything that comes with it, is something quite different and may explain why every dish at the Fat Duck is designed to go beyond sight, taste and smell.

His Sounds of the Sea signature dish is a perfect example. It comes on a piece of glass suspended over sand and broken shells. A cloud of salt-water foam sits beside edible seaweed, abalone, clams, cockles and tapioca. It is served with a shell that contains an iPod and headphones that play the sound of waves crashing on a beach.

It may sound like a strange thing to do; eat a lecithin-infused saltwater foam with seaweed while listening to the ocean. But the smells, the sound, the tastes and the interaction of each sense drags up memories and smells long forgotten. It’s almost like looking through a family photo album for the first time in 15 years.

There is little doubt that Heston has changed the way we think about food and Australians love him for it. In the two months after the Fat Duck’s move to Australia was announced, 40,000 booking enquires were received and when a random ballot system was created at $525 per head, 250,000 punched their credit card details into the system, vying for just over 16,000 seats.

So why Australia?

“I love it here,” he says. “If I was going to open my first restaurant outside the UK, it had to be somewhere I actually wanted to go. Every time I land here, I feel like I can breathe.

“And Aussies, when it comes to food, are incredibly open minded.”

Heston’s affection for Australia extends beyond the people and the place to the quality of our ingredients.

“I subsequently started discovering how much great produce there is here,” he says. “My favourite ingredients are definitely the truffles and the beef, but I’ve also been really lucky to try some of the indigenous ingredients, which can be quite tricky to work with because they have to deal with such extreme heat conditions. Also, some of the fish is amazing; fish and chips made from bass grouper are just fantastic – very gelatinous flavours.

“One of my last trips was with a man called Josh who takes food tours. We picked abalone and rock oysters, cooking them straight from the water. That was fantastic and a great example of how food is so rooted in a time and place and how it has a strong connection with the land.”

A vibrant future

What also excites Mr Blumenthal is the future of food in Australia and how our multicultural diversity will allow our cuisine to evolve and develop without the boundaries that exist elsewhere.

 “Australian culture is certainly young enough for fresh innovation, it’s very multi-cultural, very modern, very open minded and inquisitive.

“These are all the things needed for creativity. I believe Australians have a real sense of pride in their past, a knowledge of their heritage, but Australia’s food history is too young to slip backwards.

“One thing is for sure, it’s vibrant and exciting and completely delicious!”

On the subject of dining and who he would like to have dinner with, dead or alive, his answer provides an insight into the depth of his inquisitive nature.

“It would have to be the pre-human ape who was the first being to cook food on a fire,” he answers. “Eating cooked food has developed the human mind and made us who we are. There was almost a million years between discovering fire and cooking, after those million years, what happened? What did it taste like? I’d love to know, I’d like to have dinner with them and ask them.”

The Australian version of the Fat Duck is now over, with the staff winging their way back for the northern hemisphere spring and the vacated space being prepped for a permanent version of the highly successful and more accessible Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.

So if you missed out on getting a seat at the Fat Duck and want to experience and taste the world of Heston, then a trip to the Crown complex in Melbourne should be part of your next migration.

Watch Selector’s exclusive video interview with Heston:

You might also like

Food
Impress: Poh Ling Yeow
Words by Mark Hughes on 14 Jun 2017
It is so easy to fall in love with Poh Ling Yeow. She's wildly attractive, intelligent, funny and vivacious. She has a dazzling charisma, but at the same time is approachable. And she’s oh so talented. A professional artist before starring on the first season of Masterchef, she is now a true celebrity of the Australian food scene and host of her own show, Poh & Co., on SBS. “It’s really lovely to be back on a second season of Poh & Co. and working with friends and family, because ultimately that’s where I get all my inspiration from,” Poh tells me when we sit down for a chat on the set of our Impress photoshoot. “It’s a very truthful depiction of how I draw my ideas, the kind of everyday influences that I have and the people that I come in contact with. “The thing that I love about the show most is that it touches on very common, suburban aspirations, you know, wanting to have a vege patch or build your own pizza oven. It’s got currency in terms of people being able to relate to it very easily.” Working on TV and being able to chat with people from all walks of life has also benefitted Poh in the fact that she has been able to feel more secure about her own food identity. “I used to be very purist about the way I cooked, but now I’m relaxing and understanding what my identity is, which is a Malaysian-born Chinese Australian. So I feel like my food should absolutely reflect that. “Now I feel I have this license to be a little bit more free and playful with my food and it absolutely reflects what food is all about. It’s all about multiculture, about mixing ingredients and techniques.” The other exciting development in Poh’s life is opening her first restaurant, Jamface, in Adelaide’s Central Markets. “It’s actually just a little café – a very casual place. I’m cooking light breakfasts and lunches. The main focus is actually my pastry. I’m well known for my Asian food, but the thing that I absolutely love is French pastry. You should come down and check it out.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Poh:  
Food
The art of Italian
Words by Mark Hughes on 2 Jul 2015
When Lucio Galletto opened up a restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Paddington he didn’t truly envisage that it would become a cultural icon, as much an art gallery as an Italian trattoria. But due to the warm generosity of the restaurateur and clientele, this is exactly what has happened. Adorning the restaurant’s walls are works by some of the biggest names in Australian art such as Sidney Nolan, John Olsen and Garry Shead, to name but a few. The story of how this all came about and how it has helped develop his food is detailed in Lucio’s latest book, The Art of Traditional Italian. Childhood memories Lucio has always been surrounded by food, and by art. He grew up in a village on the Ligurian coast of Italy where his parents had a restaurant. He recalls the fun and convivial nature of his parents serving both friends and strangers. Almost as vividly, he recalls being mesmerised by the ornate and detailed sculptures, paintings and architecture of his poor, but culturally rich, local church. The combination has had a long and lasting affect on Lucio. So when it came to be that he opened the doors of Lucio’s in 1981 he was determined to extend the same welcoming nature that his parents had shown at their restaurant. By chance, Paddington was home to an artists’ studio, which many of Sydney’s up and coming painters and sculptures used as their creative centre, and for many of these, Lucio’s became their second home. The art evolves “Artists started to come in and some started giving me their work because they found out that I had a love of art, and so it happened,” recalls Lucio. “We didn’t plan this, we didn’t say ‘let’s make an art restaurant’, it just happened over years. “It all started with Sidney Nolan. He was involved with the movie Burke and Wills as an advisor. When they finished filming each day he would come in to eat. One time he drew a little artwork on a napkin and left it behind. I was really taken with it. You know, beautiful gold leaf – I put it up on the wall. “Well, that was the first piece of art on the wall. And when Sidney came back he looked up and saw his art and he was really taken with the fact I had given it so much love. After that he gave me some more drawings and the other art pieces. I think from that, the artists understood that I love art and artists, I look after their work. I am really honoured that they put their work up on the walls of my restaurant. It’s a great honour for me… and it all turned up by chance. “I have some great artists that come to the restaurant and they draw on napkins, plates, or in the oyster shells. They feel really at home and comfortable, and it makes me feel good that I have created this feeling, to be able to collaborate, because of the hospitality, the conviviality of my restaurant.” The Art of Traditional Italian by Lucio Galletto with photography by Ben Dearnley (Penguin) RRP $59.99
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
1 case has been added to your cart.
Cart total: xxx
1 case, 12 bottles, 3 accessories