Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

The Fat Duck 2009

Modernist

  • Please log in to reply
203 replies to this topic

#181 Toufas

Toufas
  • participating member
  • 254 posts

Posted 23 August 2009 - 03:18 PM

do they do tables for 1 at the fd? i dont have anyone to join me, and i really want to go.

#182 tonto21

tonto21
  • participating member
  • 49 posts
  • Location:Dublin Ireland

Posted 23 August 2009 - 03:37 PM

do they do tables for 1 at the fd? i dont have anyone to join me, and i really want to go.

View Post


Nope I tried to book a table for one person for June and they do not accept bookings for one person. I dont know how they are allowed to do it, but they do!

#183 tony h

tony h
  • participating member
  • 1,023 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 24 August 2009 - 02:22 AM

they used to

#184 Toufas

Toufas
  • participating member
  • 254 posts

Posted 24 August 2009 - 04:06 AM

so michelin inspectors go with their families?

#185 eatenmess

eatenmess
  • participating member
  • 98 posts
  • Location:England

Posted 24 August 2009 - 04:53 AM

that really random. do any other top end restaurants do this? i love eating on my own sometimes.

#186 Toufas

Toufas
  • participating member
  • 254 posts

Posted 24 August 2009 - 05:09 AM

of course i would prefer eating with a friend, but most of my friends would rather eat a take away than a proper meal, and the ones that would come with me, are broke atm.

#187 howardlong

howardlong
  • participating member
  • 355 posts

Posted 25 August 2009 - 02:15 AM

that really random. do any other top end restaurants do this? i love eating on my own sometimes.

View Post


I had a tip from the maitre d' of a well known 2* who suggested that when booking, I should book a table for two, but turn up on my own. He suggested that a restaurant is less likely to accept a single diner, as hanging on for a couple would generally mean you'd achieve a larger spend (apparently I am an exception to this rule!).

Certainly if a restaurant refuses to accept bookings from a single diner then they deserve this approach. It's not like they can turn you away.

Cheers, Howard

#188 Matthew Grant

Matthew Grant
  • participating member
  • 2,261 posts

Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:30 AM

Not a good idea at the Fat Duck where you are required to leave a credit card and are charged £80 per person for no shows.
"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

#189 howardlong

howardlong
  • participating member
  • 355 posts

Posted 25 August 2009 - 04:05 AM

Not a good idea at the Fat Duck where you are required to leave a credit card and are charged £80 per person for no shows.

View Post


Interesting point, but if I have turned up with, say, three instead of four with a credit card guaranteed booking, then they haven't charged me for the no show.

Cheers, H

#190 Toufas

Toufas
  • participating member
  • 254 posts

Posted 25 August 2009 - 11:08 AM

still i find it very annoying... maybe we should have a gathering from here? :D

#191 tony h

tony h
  • participating member
  • 1,023 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 25 August 2009 - 11:12 AM

book for two then the day before or that morning phone & say your guest has swine flu/broken leg/broken heart and can't make it & ask if its still ok to come - be prepared to cry if necessary "but heston is my life/life won't be complete without etc etc" sort of thing
or try booking with a celeb name saying you're incognito
or that you ferran adria's young/older/long lost brother etc.
or just book for two & have both meals

if you really want in - i'm sure you'll find a way (if only el bulli was this easy...)

#192 ulterior epicure

ulterior epicure
  • participating member
  • 3,811 posts
  • Location:Depends on the day.

Posted 25 August 2009 - 11:41 AM

book for two then the day before or that morning phone & say your guest has swine flu/broken leg/broken heart and can't make it & ask if its still ok to come - be prepared to cry if necessary "but heston is my life/life won't be complete without etc etc" sort of thing
or try booking with a celeb name saying you're incognito
or that you ferran adria's young/older/long lost brother etc.
or just book for two & have both meals

if you really want in - i'm sure you'll find a way (if only el bulli was this easy...)

View Post

Really. Dining shouldn't be this hard.
“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”
Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

#193 RDB

RDB
  • participating member
  • 471 posts

Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:08 PM

book for two then the day before or that morning phone & say your guest has swine flu/broken leg/broken heart and can't make it & ask if its still ok to come - be prepared to cry if necessary "but heston is my life/life won't be complete without etc etc" sort of thing
or try booking with a celeb name saying you're incognito
or that you ferran adria's young/older/long lost brother etc.
or just book for two & have both meals

if you really want in - i'm sure you'll find a way (if only el bulli was this easy...)

View Post


Never mind that, say your guest has the norovirus or is an environmantal health officer :biggrin:

#194 ameiden

ameiden
  • participating member
  • 151 posts

Posted 26 August 2009 - 10:23 AM

Strange. I have been there on my own and there was no problem at all. Wonder why this approach would have changed. Dining on my own, based on my wine choice I tend to have a higher bill than the couple next to me who just drink wines by the glass.

Reminds me of a restaurant in Germany where a few years ago I wanted to book a table for 3. I was told that they would only accept bookings in increments of 2, so either 2 or 4. Booking for 3 would mean that with their square tables one seat would remain empty.

#195 Gary Marshall

Gary Marshall
  • participating member
  • 2,334 posts

Posted 27 August 2009 - 02:27 AM

whilst i suspect a call to them might elicit a positive response, i can see the restaurants point of view, they only have 44 covers (i think) given the fact that there is a large amount of fixed cost in the business 1:1 chef to punter iirc , if they were making the industry average 10% net profit the only c. the last 4 punters would be profit , the rest just goes to cover costs so it might seem petty but if they don't max out the place as often as they can, they'll lose money. or lose even more , as heston often says the FD itself doesn't make money due to the small number of covers and high fixed costs.
you don't win friends with salad

#196 cachan

cachan
  • participating member
  • 162 posts
  • Location:London UK

Posted 27 August 2009 - 02:57 AM

If FD does not make much profit, and demand outstrips supply massively, such that every sitting is full, then they could increase prices by 5-10% and still be always full.

#197 Gary Marshall

Gary Marshall
  • participating member
  • 2,334 posts

Posted 27 August 2009 - 03:44 AM

given some of the prices i 've seen there, i think they've had a good go! fundamentally it looks like a loss leader for the heston brand with the ratio of staff to punters and number of covers making decent profitability unlikely.

el bulli the same, doesn't make any money per se.
you don't win friends with salad

#198 olicollett

olicollett
  • participating member
  • 436 posts

Posted 27 August 2009 - 03:55 AM

Still, when you compare prices at the fat duck compared to some of the places in Paris, it doesn't seem quite so bad! I expect they could happily charge £150+/head for the tasting menu and still be full every time, but I guess they don't want to alienate everyone.

#199 JonathanEllis

JonathanEllis
  • participating member
  • 9 posts

Posted 02 September 2009 - 03:23 AM

It certainly looks like they do accept bookings for one. Seems the only stipulation is that the maximum table size is 6. Their cancellation policy clearly states:

"For parties of two and below we ask that customers give at least 72 hours notice... "

The above taken from http://www.fatduck.co.uk/

#200 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,628 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 10 September 2009 - 11:28 AM

Times reports that it was the shellfish:

The vomiting bug that forced the closure of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck was caused by sewage-infested oysters and razor clams, according to an official report released today. ... An investigation by the Health Protection Agency found raw oysters had been contaminated with norovirus from infected sewage. Infected staff may also have passed on the virus to the 529 diners who fell victim. The restaurant closed for three weeks after the outbreak. ...

The chef and his team are criticised in the report for failing to notify environmental health officers about a problem when they first received complaints about diners falling ill in January. Instead they waited until February 24 before alerting the local authority. This delay complicated the subsequent investigation into the cause of the illness and scientists are now unable to establish the exact reason for the contamination.


Very interested to see how this all plays out, especially in relation to the month lag.
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#201 olicollett

olicollett
  • participating member
  • 436 posts

Posted 10 September 2009 - 03:39 PM

Why on earth did it take so long for that to come out?

#202 PhilD

PhilD
  • participating member
  • 706 posts
  • Location:Hong Kong

Posted 13 September 2009 - 04:51 AM

If you go to the media release of the HPA report is states that Swine Flu delayed the report ( http://www.hpa.org.u...p=1231252394302 ).

Not certain what there is to "play out" the HPA report wraps up the incident, lessons have been learned and remedial actions taken (and those were recommended by the HPA). A quick read of the report indicates the cause was the raw ingredients, there are some comments about the complexity of the prep potentially being a factor but it does have a clear statement that No breaches of hygiene standards were identified in the preparation processes as described by staff., it goes on to comment that alcohol gel isn't as effective as hand-washing and some staff may have still be contageous when they came back to work. The reports comment on the delay in notification to the HPA is from the 13/14th Feb to the 24th Feb, not as the newspaper report states mid January.

#203 PhilD

PhilD
  • participating member
  • 706 posts
  • Location:Hong Kong

Posted 30 October 2009 - 02:32 PM

Very interested to see how this all plays out, especially in relation to the month lag.


Looks like it has played out: http://www.telegraph...-no-action.html

The local council, who is responsible for food safety in their area, has decided not to prosecute The Fat Duck. It appears from the press report that the"blame" lies with the supplier or the water company in Essex. Reading between the lines IMO this vindicates Heston's assertion that the report from the HPA was flawed i.e. it put too much emphasis in FD elements rather than the real problem contaminated raw ingredients. Although the Telegraph still highlights the D-list celbs who are milking the media attention and continue to talk about suing, I imagine their lawyers may well be pointing out that the councils decision not to sue weakens their case. Why don't they sue the supplier instead, but I wonder if the publicity for suing a small fish farm in Essex would be the same?

It seems only the Telegraph picked this up, strange given the breadth and depth of the publicity surrounding the original outbreak. Clearly good news doesn't sell newspapers.

#204 CalumC

CalumC
  • participating member
  • 342 posts
  • Location:UK

Posted 22 December 2009 - 10:48 AM

It might be of interest to some of you that HB has been named guest director of the Cheltenham Science Festival in June. I hope he'll be ambitious with who he gets in to talk, perhaps McGee or This!

Calum





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Modernist