Chef Heston Blumenthal first opened the Fat Duck in 1995. In the beginning it wasn’t the Mecca of avant-garde cuisine we know today, no, it was more along the lines of a modern French bistro. However it did not take Blumenthal very long before he became frustrated with the constraints imposed by following this more traditional culinary template.
Before long Chef Blumenthal began to introduce more and more of the techniques with which we associate the Fat Duck today. Techniques such as novel food pairings, flavour encapsulation and multi sensory cooking. His famous “sounds of the sea” dish perhaps best exemplifies this approach.
Climbing the Michelin Ladder
The Fat Duck’s success was certainly not an overnight one. Originally it opened with a staff of only four or five and in the early days struggled to remain commercially viable. It did not win its first Michelin star until 1999. At that point though things really began to take off with the factor picking up its second star in 2002. It only had to wait another two years before picking up its third star, thus making it the fastest restaurant in the United Kingdom to go from one star to three. More importantly it gave the Fat Duck the international prominence it needed to move from near extinction, to commercial viability and, ultimately, towards fame and fortune, for both its food and its chef.
It held this third star until it closed temporarily for renovations in 2016 Upon reopening the next year the Fat Duck regained its three stars straightaway.
Blumenthal used this ‘downtime’ to more than simply rework the decor. By the time the Fat Duck reopened it reopened with an entirely new concept of what a multi course meal experience should constitute. Blumenthal’s big idea is that this new concept should take the diner on a journey which taps in to both flavour memory and that magical sense of wonder we all experienced as children.
Check out the video and let Heston Blumenthal show you for himself