Heston Blumenthal’s London restaurant Dinner will soon be losing a head chef to a Melbourne version of the Michelin-starred restaurant. But in an international switcheroo, Blumenthal is taking back quite the culinary talent to the UK to reopen The Fat Duck in Berkshire: a MasterChef from Ballina. Confused? Let's break it down.
Last night saw the greatly anticipated MasterChef finale, and after a two-and-a-half hour tension headache, a winner was crowned (spoiler alert: it was Ballina chef, Billie McKay, who beat competition golden girl Georgia Barnes in a shocking twist that took a long, long while to get there). But the real star of the show was (as always) wacky, inflatable arm-flailing Blumenthal who appeared with a dish from another dimension: the Botrytis Cinerea dessert, a dish more art than food. After the winner was crowed, Heston offered McKay a job at The Fat Duck when it reopens in Berkshire, which she graciously accepted.
So, Australia is losing its newly crowned MasterChef to the UK, but at the same time Melbourne is gaining a new Blumenthal restaurant, Dinner, complete with ex-Fat Duck head chef, Ashley Palmer-Watts. Dinner will take up residence in the Crown Melbourne in October, taking over from The Fat Duck's now-closed, six-month Melbourne residency.
Farewell Fat Duck classics as snail porridge and quail jelly with crayfish cream, and welcome Dinner specialties like the fabled meat fruit. Dinner Melbourne will be modelled on the Blumenthal's Michelin-starred London restaurant which serves a typically jaw-dropping menu — inspired by 15th century manuscripts and 'the fanciful dramatic dishes of the royal courts of King Henry VII'.
Expect dishes such as the infamous meat fruit (chicken liver parfait contained within a mandarin jelly skin), and ‘rice and flesh’, which is made of saffron, calf tail and red and hails all the way from 1390AD (where it perhaps should have stayed). It’s an ode to historical British gastronomy, which in Hestonspeak means: be wary of your meal because there’s almost certainly four and twenty blackbirds baked into it and about to sing somehow.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will open in late October at the Crown Melbourne, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank. Open for lunch Friday and Saturday, and dinner daily.