It took years of planning to bring The Fat Duck to Melbourne and its six-month stint in the city comes to an end in 12 weeks. In an exclusive interview, celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal tells SBS the end of the 'holiday' will hit staff hard.
The Fat Duck restaurant, run by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, has reached half way through its six-month "pop-up" stint in Melbourne.
Tens of thousands of food lovers tried to get reservations at the restaurant through a ballot system and only a lucky few of them were successful.
As the restaurant marks 12 weeks in its adopted home, Blumenthal told SBS he had been under a lot of pressure in the build up for the restaurant's relocation to be a success.
"There was so much interest, the response was so high," he said.
"The closer we got to opening we were thinking, 'Oh God, is the expectation going to be so high that people are just going to be disappointed?'."
Famed for his inventive cooking, Blumenthal said he was challenged by unfamiliar local produce.
"The process of finding and sourcing and understanding through cooking the produce over here made us revisit all the dishes," he said.
"The closer we got to opening we were thinking, 'Oh god is the expectation going to be so high that people are just going to be disappointed?'."
The temporary relocation of Blumenthal's famed restaurant was a dream come true for Australian chef Luke Headon.
"It's really exciting to have this sort of level of cooking and this sort of serve and food that Heston is bringing to Australia," he told SBS. "And to be able to show my own family that."
Head waiter and fellow Australian Cameron Maher was also happy to be back.
"We are having a great time exploring Melbourne and rediscovering my hometown, which is a lot of fun," he said.
Blumenthal said the looming end to the restaurant’s Melbourne stint would hit staff hard.
"The biggest problem I've got is getting them back to the UK,” he said.
"They love it. I don't know what you can't love about Melbourne."
And that date is just around the corner.
"It took years of planning to bring the Fat Duck to Melbourne."
"In just 12 weeks the holiday will be over."