Meet the New Head Chef at The Fat Duck

14 March, 2022
A man in chef whites seated at a table.

Southworks Creative Ltd

Anyone who’s seen Blumenthal’s recent proclamations about quantum gastronomy will be in no doubt that he and the restaurant will always strive to innovate. But this has to be balanced with the fact that The Fat Duck is in essence now a heritage restaurant too, a grand old dame (in a manner of speaking, the dining room is tiny), that attracts food tourists from all over the globe - at least it did before Covid.

So, what role will The Fat Duck play in the future of gastronomy exactly? We know that Blumenthal is keen on alternative proteins. Perhaps they will go a step further and go plant-based, following the likes of Eleven Madison Park? The truth is, no-one's quite sure what The Fat Duck 3.0 will look like yet, probably not even Blumenthal.

“There’s a lot of people involved in what it will be, but there’s no definitive answer. How the restaurant will operate, the menus delivered and guest experience is still in progress,” says Williamson.

They have time though. 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the restaurant and they have been celebrating, due to multiple pandemic interruptions, with a series of greatest hits menus ever since. These have included all the classics: the egg and bacon ice cream that so wowed the 18-year-old Williamson, and triple-cooked chips of course.

Then there’s possibly Blumenthal’s most headline-baiting dish, snail porridge, the recipe for which can be found as part of our Definitive and Doable series. “It all works: parsley, snails, garlic is the theme of the base, It’s just one of those things that’s super sideways but so delicious,” says Williamson.

Another hit is a simple (well, simple-looking) beetroot macaron. “I often speak to people if they come for a kitchen tour, and you say ‘Any highlights?’ and people always pick out the beetroot, this little two-ingredient macaron,” says Williamson.

“I’m a bit deflated because all that work has gone into the other stuff, but it’s the concentration of flavour; beetroot and horseradish. That first little mouthful, well just one bite, we often say stimulates the trigeminal nerve which gets you salivating.”

What could be more Fat Duck than talk of physiological responses to snacks?

A composite image of a male chef.

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