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French Fat Duck could be forced to change name

14 March 2016 by
French Fat Duck could be forced to change name

A restaurant in France could be forced to change its name from the Fat Duck, having been handed a legal warning from Heston Blumenthal.

The Fat Duck in Confolens, west France, is run by English chef Jason Annetts, who insisted that the name was inspired by his daughter Maisie, whose first word was duck.

According to The Daily Mail, the Fat Duck name has not been registered by Heston Blumenthal in France, but it hasn't stopped the three-Michelin-starred chef attempting to stop its use.

Annetts told the paper: "I received a cease and desist letter from Heston Blumenthal's lawyers in Paris. I couldn't read it. I don't understand French yet. I'd only been here for nine months then.

"Why would someone of his stature be bothered by me? I'm just a pub chef; I make good fresh grub. I don't understand why a chef of his calibre would be bothered by someone like me."

He moved to France to follow his parents, having sold the Three Horseshoes in Houghton, near Cambridge, which he had been running.

Annetts said the reason he chose the name for his new bistro venture was because it was his daughter's first word.

He added: "Maisie is a vivacious, individual little character. When she pointed at the picture of a duck and said it, my heart melted. Whose wouldn't? It was really sweet. It was one of those moments I'll treasure forever. It's a tribute to my daughter, that's all. I wouldn't want to copy anyone else, that's unthinkable."

A spokesperson for the Fat Duck said: "It's unfortunate that we have had to take this route but we have been in contact with Mr Annetts for some time now and hope the matter will be resolved soon.

"While it might be flattering that he has chosen to use the same name when he opened last year, we have been operating for over 20 years and, given our worldwide reputation, need to ensure there is no confusion for our guests.

"We often only become aware of potential issues like this when we are informed by our patrons who query the relationship, as was the case here. With a global following and a reputation that we have worked hard to establish it is important for everyone, but most importantly our guests, that there is no confusion."

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