Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Fat Duck Melbourne - I Got A Booking And I'm Excited

So yesterday the biggest buzz in Melbourne, at least among people with a culinary/dining interest, was the release of The Fat Duck reservation emails. If you're not familiar with the back story, basically Heston Blumenthal is bring his whole Fat Duck team to Melbourne to open a pop-up for 6 mmonths in Crown Entertainment Complex. From that point onwards, The Fat Duck will turn into Dinner, his other highly acclaimed restaurant. This means there is an extremely limited time to get a table at The Fat Duck.

I'm a huge fan of Heston's, which I'm sure many other people are too. I have an engineering and science background and combined with my love of food, he is my ultimate chef. One who creates amazing dishes using science. I'm a firm believer that all cooking is just science that is executed perfectly, and Heston proves that. I've watched all his shows and read his books and the science parts fascinates me no end. Back in 2010 when I went on a holiday through Europe, I had the option of dining at The Fat Duck but decided not to. I was thinking of the money as I didn't want to blow my holiday budget. So I picked to go to only one 3 Michelin star restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire in Paris. Whilst that meal was great, I really regretted not going to The Fat Duck as I think I would love the theatre and experimentation of Heston far more, even if the food wasn't all super delicious. The fact that he uses such different scientific techniques to create almost magical dishes is mind blowing enough.

So along with every other man and his dog, when The Fat Duck was announced to open in Melbourne, I was screaming with delight. The problem was, how do you fit more people into a restaurant than you can possibly hold. The answer, you hold a ballot. There was a two week expression of interest period, to which about 90,000 people entered their names for tables of 2, 4 and 6. As I read that the tables of 4 were the most available, I put in my entry for a table of 4, happy to dine at lunch or dinner, and to be on the wait list for last minute cancellations. I didn't care what I had to do, I wanted to go. And I'm so happy that I will be going, AUUUUUHHHHHHHH. I was jumping for joy yesterday and told everyone (in real life and on social media) when I got my acceptance email. Remember, this is just to say I can make a booking and have the privilege to pay a whopping amount of money for one single meal. Crazy right?

If you're not a big food lover, finding 3 other people to go to a super expensive meal with you would be hard. But as I associate with so many other food lovers, that's not a problem. I have the inverse problem of having now to reject many people who had assumed they were coming along to a minimum $525 meal. Yes, that's the cost without drinks or a tip. It's hefty that's for sure. And yes, I've heard many other people say that with that money they could eat loads of hamburgers, or dine at 3 fancy restaurants etc. Logically that all makes sense to me and I do agree with them. But at the same time I am still willing to spend that money and dine out at Heston's restaurant because no matter how many photos or stories I hear about The Fat Duck, experiencing it myself is a whole other matter. It may turn out to disappoint, or hopefully it will amaze. Regardless, I'll be happy that I tried. My view is that it is super expensive, but I can save for it and it's within my means. Hence I am willing to spend this money to gain an experience. If I applied logic to every decision I made, I wouldn't ever go on a holiday as it makes more sense to put that money into my mortgage and reduce the interest I pay dramatically. But that's not how humans work. We need to see some reward for our efforts or we give up. This to me, is a reward that I'm more than happy to pay for. Comparing the cost here to the cost in London (approximately $400 AUD) doesn't really make sense to me as I won't be going to London (or Bray more accurately) any time soon. The Fat Duck has come to my doorstep and I'm so happy I got a table. The email screenshot below confirms my ballot success, with a final payment confirmation and payment to come very soon. So I better hop on my bike and sort out who is coming with me and get money from them haha.

Are you lucky enough to also get a booking at The Fat Duck?
Would you have gone if you did get the booking?