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Fat Duck colleagues Jonny Lake and Isa Bal planning joint venture

Fat Duck colleagues Jonny Lake and Isa Bal planning joint venture

Former Fat Duck colleagues chef Jonny Lake and master sommelier Isa Bal have announced plans to team up for a new London project set to launch in 2019.

The pair worked together for more than 12 years at the Fat Duck Group in the roles of group executive chef and group head sommelier, before leaving earlier this year to pursue personal projects.

Commenting on the new partnership, Lake said: "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."

Bal added: "Having successfully worked with Jonny over many years, I am now very much looking forward to collaborating on this new exciting project. 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's professional cooking career began when he trained as a chef at the Institut de Tourisme et d'Hôtellerie du Québec, Canada, which led him to complete stints at Michelin-starred restaurants Spurcacciun-a and Quintilio in Liguria, Italy, as well as working for legendary Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi at L'Albereta in Lombardy.

He moved to the UK in 2005 to join the Fat Duck, was named head chef in 2009 and subsequently promoted to executive head chef of the group.

Bal's hospitality career began more than 20 years ago as a commis sommelier at the Vineyard at Stockcross, near Newbury. In 2008 he won the highly regarded title of Best Sommelier of Europe and passed the Master Sommelier exams a year later.

In his role as head sommelier for the Fat Duck Group, Bal worked closely with the kitchen team, pioneering new ways to pair food and drinks in inventive and exciting combinations.

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