Ex-Fat Duck chef and MS to open London restaurant

The former executive chef at Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin-starred The Fat Duck, Jonny Lake, and master sommelier, Isa Bal, have teamed up with plans to open a restaurant in London next year.

The pair both left the Fat Duck, in Berkshire, earlier this year, and had spent 12 years working together at the world-famous restaurant: Lake as right hand man to Blumenthal as group executive chef, and Bal as group head sommelier.

“Isa and I have always shared the same philosophy and passion for creating interesting flavour combinations and after many discussions, we knew we wanted to collaborate on a new project together,” Lake said in an release.

Canadian-born Lake first trained as a chef at the Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec, and worked at Michelin-starred restaurants including Spurcacciun-a and Quintilio in Liguria, Italy, and also worked with Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi at L’Albereta in Lombardy, before going the Fat Duck in 2005.

He was named head chef in 2009 and then executive chef, before announcing his departure earlier this year.

Bal meanwhile first worked as a commis sommelier at the Vineyard at Stockcross, near Newbury. In 2008 he won the title of Best Sommelier of Europe and passed the Master Sommelier exams a year later.

In his role as head sommelier for the Fat Duck Group, Bal worked closely with the kitchen team, pioneering new ways to pair food and drinks in inventive and exciting combinations.

“Having successfully worked with Jonny over many years, I am now very much looking forward to collaborating on this new exciting project,” Bal added. “We share a mutual love of food and drink as well as a passion for the creative process and look forward to sharing this in our own restaurant.”

The Fat Duck first gained the attention of the culinary world for Blumenthal’s “molecular gastronomy” approach to cooking, which led it to gaining three Michelin stars in 2004, which it still holds today, despite temporarily losing its star status in 2016 when Blumenthal moved the operation to Melbourne for a year.

It most famous dishes have included snail porridge; bacon and egg ice cream; and “sound of the sea” – a seafood and seaweed assembly, which involved listening to the sound of shells through an iPod.

No details have been announced on Lake an Bal’s venture, other than it will open in 2019.

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