May, 2018

February, 2018

  • How a chef cooks for those he loves

    13 February, 2018 How a chef cooks for those he loves

    Skipping the crowds in favour of a lovingly prepared meal at home is your best bet for a romantic Valentine’s Day. This is chef Jock Zonfrillo's idea of a nice night in.
    Read more…

January, 2018

December, 2017

October, 2017

September, 2017

  • Win a pro toastie pack

    18 September, 2017 Win a pro toastie pack

    Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this kit, including a no-mess Breville press, a copy of Darren Purchese's Chefs Eat Toasties Too and a subscription to Cooked.
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August, 2017

July, 2017

June, 2017

  • Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    08 June, 2017 Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    Gill Meller is in the country, his first time to Australia, showcasing his beautiful book Gather with a series of dinners and classes. We caught up with him to find out what's on the menu for his Aussie guests.
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May, 2017

April, 2017

February, 2017

January, 2017

December, 2016

October, 2016

September, 2016

August, 2016

July, 2016

June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

March, 2016

February, 2016

January, 2016

December, 2015

November, 2015

  • Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    27 November, 2015 Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    We're looking at those staple recipes that can make or break your Christmas spread. First up, the much-misunderstood sweet seductress, custard.
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  • Halfway Home

    16 November, 2015 Halfway Home

    I’ve been sugar-free for a total of two weeks, and things are going surprisingly well...
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  • Bubbles or nothing

    11 November, 2015 Bubbles or nothing

    Out to impress this party season? To take your entertaining game to the next level, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Halliday Wine Companion to share tips on matching sparkling wines to a range of show-stopping canapes.
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  • The anatomy of the perfect burger

    11 November, 2015 The anatomy of the perfect burger

    Looking for your next weekend challenge? Why not have a crack at making your own cheeseburgers from scratch? Chef Daniel Wilson shares the secret recipe to recreating his famed Huxtaburger, from bun to patty and everything in between.
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  • No Sugar November

    04 November, 2015 No Sugar November

    This month while the boys are growing staches, I’ll be growing a conscience about all the confectionary I consume.
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October, 2015

September, 2015

May, 2015

April, 2015

March, 2015

February, 2015

January, 2015

December, 2014

November, 2014

October, 2014

September, 2014

August, 2014

July, 2014

June, 2014

May, 2014

April, 2014

March, 2014

February, 2014

  • Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    27 February, 2014 Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    Jams, pickles, chutneys, sauces, compotes and conserves are the best way to preserve abundant produce so you can enjoy your fruit and veg all year round. Margaret Fulton shares her guide to the art of preserving.
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  • Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    27 February, 2014 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, running from February 28 to March 16, begins in just over a week. We’ve put together our picks of the fest.
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  • Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    24 February, 2014 Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    Master of the dough Philippa Sibley shares her step-by-step guide to making sweet shortcrust pastry, taking you through everything you need to know to perfect the art of peerless pâte.
    Read more…

  • In season | Eggplant

    21 February, 2014 In season | Eggplant

    The unsung hero of the nightshade family, eggplant is found in cuisines the world over. From Sicily to South East Asia, the Middle East to the Mediterranean, many signature dishes feature the versatile aubergine. We sing the praises of the humble eggplant.
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  • Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    17 February, 2014 Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    Meat expert and chef Adrian Richardson explains the different cuts of pork, and what you should use them for.
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  • Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    14 February, 2014 Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    Skewers, kebabs, shaslicks, yakitori … Whatever you call them, meat just tastes better when cooked on a stick. We share our tips to help you ace the skewers at your next barbecue.
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  • In season | Figs

    06 February, 2014 In season | Figs

    Figs evoke the flavours of exotic decadence. Sweet and visually striking, figs make for a decadent tart topper, a sumptuous sticky jam or a delightful savoury venture with cold meats. We share some of our favourite fig recipes.
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  • Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    05 February, 2014 Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    There's nothing more thoughtful than a handmade edible gift. April Carter shares her tips and tricks for making beautiful and delicious treats for those you love.
    Read more…

January, 2014

December, 2013

November, 2013

The Fat Duck ballot: I got a reservation – now what?

By
Hannah Koelmeyer
Added
18 November, 2014

The ballot for the 6-month Melbourne residency for Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck has been drawn. Cooked editor Hannah Koelmeyer was lucky to win a reservation – but she’s not sure whether she should take it.

‘You have a reservation at The Fat Duck Melbourne.’ I was one of just 14,000 out of 89,179 hopefuls to see this in my inbox last Monday.

Heston

Heston Blumenthal announced in March that he would be relocating the Fat Duck and its entire staff to Melbourne while the Bray site undergoes renovations. In what may well be the world’s most hyped and highly-anticipated pop-up, the three Michelin star-restaurant will hold court at Crown for six months before making way for the more permanent Dinner by Heston.

Due to the limited places (the restaurant seats fewer than 50) and the profusion of interest (at one point the Fat Duck in Bray was receiving more than 30,000 phone calls a day from prospective diners trying to wrangle a booking) reservations were doled out through a ballot system which was drawn last Monday.

After the initial elation of winning wore off, cold, hard, fiscal reality set in.

The fact that I work in food media may inadvertently lend some credence to the current outcry of the ballot being rigged favouring VIPs and shunning “regular people”, so I will state that the ballot win was actually my boyfriend’s (who works in IT and isn’t exactly rolling in Silicon-Valley billions), and that my own ballot entry was unsuccessful (don’t they know who I am?).

After the initial elation of winning wore off, cold, hard, fiscal reality set in. The email informed us that someone would call us in the next 4 weeks to confirm our booking and arrange payment of $525 per person. Our booking is for a table of six, so that’s a whopping $3150 hit. (I’m still not certain we have a credit card between us with a limit that high.)

Most of the friends we had discussed sharing a table with quickly stated that they were out (we always assumed it would be a long shot), and I’m on the fence. My boyfriend is the only one of our group still completely committed to the idea, and I’m having trouble justifying the expense. The $525 is for food only so matched wines will jack up the cost significantly (and if I’m spending that kind of money on a dining experience, I’m not going to do it unless I’m going all in).

Someone would call us to arrange payment of $525 per person. Our booking is for a table of six, so that’s a whopping $3150 hit.

Once you’ve paid for your reservation, the Fat Duck does allow for cancellation with a refund up to 14 days before the date of your booking (but cancellation after this point will see you waving goodbye to your dollars).

My inner rationalist has become agitated: that amount of cash gets me a good way towards an overseas holiday or cover plenty of other more ‘responsible’ expenses. Is blowing a not-insignificant percentage of my monthly salary on one meal complete madness?

I know that’s not the way to approach high-end dining, especially the type of experience that Heston and his team are offering. And I certainly don’t think that the prices are unduly inflated – the overheads in a restaurant like the Fat Duck must be astronomical. But it is a level of expense so far outside of my personal budget that I wouldn’t normally dream of considering it, were it not presented as such a limited opportunity.

Am I just being sucked in by a perfectly-engineered FOMO generator?

Is this a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the work of one of the world’s most innovative and inventive chefs that I’d be insane to turn down, or am I just being sucked in by a perfectly-engineered FOMO generator?

I still can’t decide. Does anyone have a spare 500 bucks?

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