Heston Blumenthal announces ballot system for The Fat Duck reservations

Heston prepares for The Fat Duck's migration

Chef Heston Blumenthal reveals the expectations and challenges of bringing his famed restaurant to Melbourne ahead of its opening in February.

Heston Blumenthal fans will have to go into an online ballot for the chance to experience his famous Fat Duck menu in Australia.

The ballot, to be operated through Crown's Fat Duck Melbourne website, will be open from October 8 until October 26, with about 16,000 diners given the opportunity to experience the $525 set menu once the restaurant opens on February 3.

Crown has fielded about 40,000 inquiries from customers desperate to get a seat at The Fat Duck Melbourne since Blumenthal announced the restaurant's move there six months ago

Speaking to goodfood.com.au on Tuesday, Blumenthal laughed at rumours that Crown's casino high rollers had already booked tables.

"I wish we were that organised," the chef said.

The entire staff of The Fat Duck (located in Bray, a village outside London) is moving to Melbourne - a massive coup for Crown, but a significant logistical and financial undertaking for Blumenthal. 

Heston Blumenthal.
Heston Blumenthal. Photo: Simon Schluter

"Unless we charge $10,000 a head, you'd be losing money. So Crown have got to get the balance between -  you'll have some high rollers, some big spenders, and that young couple who it might be their lifetime thing [to] save up and get in.

"For me it's really important to get that balance." 

The Fat Duck kitchen will be located at the old Breezes restaurant site at Crown. The Bray restaurant is being renovated while staff sojourn in Australia. 

The Melbourne Fat Duck will exist at Crown from February until August next year before being turned into a local outpost of Blumenthal's London restaurant, Dinner by Heston, in October. 

Last month Blumenthal said he chose Melbourne to open The Fat Duck because he saw Australia as a stepping stone into the exploding Asian market. 

Blumenthal said he would be in Melbourne for about three weeks when The Fat Duck opens in February to ensure everything runs smoothly.

"I will certainly be here for the first three weeks to a month for the opening," he told goodfood.com.au. "I'm certainly going to come back for the middle, and I'll be back at the end... I might be there longer. It all depends on my commitments back home." 

- with Callan Boys