Why would patrons pay over $500 bucks for a meal?

Can it be the unique ingredients in Heston Blumenthal’s products?

Is it the quality and professionalism of his staff?

What about the ambiance of his restaurant?

Can it be the personal brand status that has transformed him from a humble chef to a celebrity entrepreneur?

What do you think?

Heston Blumenthal Defends Duck Bill

The Age | 23 September 2014

The backlash was swift last week when Heston Blumenthal announced that a meal at Fat Duck Melbourne would cost $525 a head, excluding, making it one of Australia’s most expensive restaurants.

In defending the bill, Blumenthal said shipping restaurant equipment from Bray, outside of London, to Crown, along with staff relocation, added substantially to his costs.

“We’re basically picking up the entire kitchen and staff from the Fat Duck and relocating across the world.”

He also added that “the cost structure for the Duck is like no other restaurant in the world. It can take one chef days just to make one item for the menu. Dining at the Duck is four and a half hours of entertainment.”

“In theory that’s just over $100 an hour for a “multi-sensory gastronomic journey of history, nostalgia, emotion and memory.”

Crown is putting up his entire British staff of about 50 at Southbank for six months. Blumenthal said he was worried they wouldn’t want to go back when the restaurant returned to its newly renovated premises in Bray.

To date, Crown has received almost 40,000 booking enquiries for the Fat Duck.

Australians willing to brave the expense will have to go into an online ballot for a chance to experience his 12- to 16-course menu.

The ballot, to be run through Crown’s website, will be open from October 8 to 26. The restaurant opens on February 3, 2015 and will conclude on August 15, 2015.

© 2014 The Age | This article first appeared in The Age on 23 September 2014.


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