On the night each of the dishes in the four course menu was accompanied by a flight of two or three of their wines, amongst them their award winning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. When the idea of a dinner was suggested by Loic Avril, who spearheads our wine team, he initially had our Private Dining Room in mind which can seat a maximum of 12 guests but due to the tremendous response the numbers grew to a total of 70 guests and eventually ended up occupying most of the dining room. The evening was a great success and enjoyed immensely by the winery team, restaurant and guests alike.
We would like to take a moment to doff our caps to the resilience of our friends at Ten Minutes by Tractor as they have had a very difficult few weeks. Due to a fire in their restaurant and neighbouring storage building they lost precious wine stock and their beautifully restored vintage tractors. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt and the restaurant and wine making facilities were spared. With unparalleled professionalism they embraced the event with us as an opportunity to focus on the future.
Not only do we have a working relationship of mutual respect but also a friendship.
Owner and winemaker Martin Spedding talks about its beginnings:
“Karen and I first dined at The Fat Duck in 2005; shortly after we had started exporting our wines to the UK they were put on the wine list at the Fat Duck. In the following year we opened our winery restaurant in Main Ridge, Mornington Peninsula. One day during a meeting with the restaurant team discussing what we wanted to achieve and our ambitions for the years ahead, in a rush of enthusiasm, I made a wager that if we were ever to be awarded Two Hats that I would take them to the best restaurant in the world, The Fat Duck.
In the years that followed my team and our guests enjoyed asking me regularly if I was getting nervous about losing my bet, particularly after our restaurant was awarded its first hat in 2008. In 2012 when we were awarded a second hat I was, of course, incredibly proud of my team and I was very happy to pay the wager. In September 2013, we all flew to the UK to enjoy an amazing lunch at The Fat Duck.
The Fat Duck team were incredibly welcoming and generous with their time and made it everything we would hope it to be. The best we had ever had. In 2015, when The Fat Duck temporarily relocated to Melbourne, we had the opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality and help welcome them to Australia when we hosted the Fat Duck/Dinner team and their families on the Mornington Peninsula.
Over the years, with the many visits between Bray and the Mornington Peninsula, we have formed some wonderful friendships with the Fat Duck in the UK and now permanently with the Dinner team here in Melbourne.
It has been a wonderful association we have enjoyed and we are delighted to be working with an organisation that we have so much respect for.”
Our interwoven stories and connections all seem to be much less than six degrees of separation; our head sommelier Loic who came over to Australia with the Fat Duck during their relocation to Melbourne had already met Martin and his team on their visit to the UK. Jacques, current head sommelier and wine buyer for Ten Minutes by Tractor lived in London at the time and was an acquaintance a few people of the Fat Duck team. He now works closely with Loic and they are friends on a personal level. Another link was formed in October last year when head chef Adam, who had incidentally worked at the Fat Duck from 2007 to 2010 joined the Ten Minutes by Tractor team.
We are thrilled to have such a good relationship with such a respected member of the local winemaking and culinary community and daily more connections form that help to cement the ever stronger ties between us; although none as strong as the common bond of food and wine.