Home杭州楼凤 › Fat Duck chef Heston Blumenthal’s favourite country for food deserves a Michelin guide

Fat Duck chef Heston Blumenthal’s favourite country for food deserves a Michelin guide

Heston Blumenthal.​The n food scene is remarkable, and Melbourne should be on anyone’s list of cities to dine in. I love it. It is exciting, cultural, vibrant, and has a fantastic diversity of restaurants. The moment I arrive in Melbourne, I feel relaxed – and that’s because of the city’s soul.
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Melbourne is all about chilling out and, as you wander the busy streets and the backstreets, you’ll see and smell the coffee shops. They’re not just any coffee shops, but ones where the coffee is exceptional. You realise quickly that there’s a reason why there are hardly any Starbucks in this continent: the Melburnians know both the meaning and taste of good coffee.

Then there are the rules and restrictions of food. Here, there are none. Think for a moment of Italy, and its rules of gastronomic etiquette – you are ridiculed if you order cappuccino after lunch, and you’re the devil if you ask for parmesan on a seafood dish.

Melbourne – and indeed the rest of – doesn’t have these sorts of limitations or traditions. Anything goes, and that’s an essential factor of the country’s culture. It is this relaxed approach to food that has helped ignite what I regard as the world’s biggest culinary explosion. Many ns might have grown up on uninspiring meals of meat and two veg, but today they have a vast choice.

As Britons, we can appreciate this phenomenal progress of cuisine. At the G7 Summit in 2005, the French leader Jacques Chirac was overheard telling world leaders that British food was the worst in the world, second only to Finland. As a child, I remember things like half an avocado in the fridge, and that was luxury in those days. There has been great evolution.

There are plenty of excellent restaurants in Melbourne, plus chefs who are revered throughout the world.

Shannon Bennett has Vue de Monde (vuedemonde杭州龙凤论坛m.au), on the 55th floor of the Rialto skyscraper, and he does a tasting menu, using ingredients that include barramundi, Blackmore wagyu beef and soft-shell crab.

Andrew McConnell has two places: Supernormal (supernormal杭州龙凤论坛.au) for steamed pork buns, and Szechuan lamb, and Cumulus Inc (cumulusinc杭州龙凤论坛m.au), with its impressive selection of native oysters, from the Clair de Lune Bouton to Rusty Wire.

George Calombaris, a judge on MasterChef, has a few restaurants in Melbourne, including the Press Club (thepressclub杭州龙凤论坛m.au). And at Gazi (gazirestaurant杭州龙凤论坛m.au), George pays tribute to his heritage with Greek dishes, as well as wood-fired flat iron steak from Rangers Valley, or lamb ribs from Flinders Island, Tasmania.

And with Ashley Palmer-Watts, I have a restaurant there, too. The Fat Duck took flight in February with about 70 staff from Bray to Melbourne. There it remained until the end of August, at the Crown Towers hotel. Then we all came back to Bray, and the space at the Crown has since been replaced by Dinner (crownmelbourne杭州龙凤论坛m.au), named after our restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge, London.

Before relocating the Duck and Dinner, we looked at other locations: Tokyo, Kyoto and New York, and also suggestions for Las Vegas, Dubai and the South of France. But we settled, of course, on none of these.

Selfishness was one of my main reasons for choosing Melbourne over the other locations. As you may have gathered, I love Oz. I search for – and happily find – excuses to spend a lot of time there.

I visited in 2002 for the first time to attend the Gourmet Traveller Awards. That’s where I met the extraordinarily gifted chef Neil Perry. With Thomas Keller, I cooked at charity fundraisers at Rockpool, which is Neil’s flagship restaurant in Sydney. Neil, by the way, also has a couple of restaurants in Melbourne, the Rockpool Bar & Grill (rockpool杭州龙凤论坛m) and Rosetta, which is also at the Crown.

In fact, for a couple of years I’ve been hassling the Michelin Guide to acknowledge ‘s restaurants by publishing a red guide for the country.

“You’ve got to be in ,” I’ve told them. “Michelin is in America, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Kyoto. has to be next.”

Obviously, there is the skill of the chefs as well as the quality of the ingredients, the fantastic produce of ‘s land and sea, things such as lemon myrtle, Geraldton wax and bush tomato, and fish such as bass groper and jewfish.

Apart from the sensational food, there is also the booming wine industry. Last year I headed out of Melbourne to visit the wineries of Victoria. Often there are good restaurants on the estates, and they are only about an hour’s drive from the city. There is, for instance, Oakridge Winery in the Yarra Valley (oakridgewines杭州龙凤论坛m.au), or the Port Phillip Estate, in Mornington Peninsula wine country (portphillipestate杭州龙凤论坛m.au). It overlooks hills of vines and gum trees.

So you can visit the cellar door to buy a few bottles and enjoy a tasting, then have lunch in one of the most magnificent settings on Earth, and raise a chilled glass to this extraordinarily beautiful part of . Not a bad way to spend a day.

The Telegraph, London

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