Chef Jonny Lake and master sommelier Isa Bal — who both departed Heston Blumenthal’s award-winning and world-famous restaurant the Fat Duck, in Berkshire, earlier this year — have announced that they will collaborate on new project in London, scheduled to launch next year. The pair worked together for over twelve years at the Fat Duck Group: Lake as group executive chef, beneath Blumenthal, 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 this morning’s announcement.
“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.”
Lake moved from Italy to the UK in 2005 to join the Fat Duck when it was the so-called “best restaurant in the world.” In 2009, he was promoted to executive head chef of the Fat Duck Group (which also includes the gastropub, The Hinds Head.) Bal has been head sommelier for the group for over twelve years and in 2009 acquired prestigious status of master sommelier. (There are only 249 worldwide.)
Blumenthal’s Fat Duck is one of the most recognisable restaurants in the world — an institution, which shot to fame in the early 2000s when the nicknamed “mad scientist” chef, along with Ferran Adria in Spain, pioneered the practice of “molecular gastronomy.” Famous dishes at the restaurant 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 more details have yet been released about Lake and Bal’s new project, but it has all the ingredients to be one of 2019’s biggest and most hotly anticipated restaurant openings.