Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck rejoins Michelin three-star restaurant club
Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal's restaurant The Fat Duck has regained its three Michelin stars to rejoin the elite club of world eateries.
The maverick culinary inventor's high-end venue lost the trio of stars last year after he took it 10,000 miles to Melbourne, Australia, for a year.
At the unveiling of the 2017 Michelin Guide - held live for the first time - it was announced the 50-year-old's £255-per-person restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, had rejoined the exclusive group.
Mr Blumenthal told the event at the Institution of Engineering and Technology he had not expected to receive the stars but said afterwards that he was more enthusiastic than ever after winning them back for the restaurant, which has just 38 covers.
He told the Press Association: "I'm more ambitious - ambitious makes it sound like a competition - but I have more energy, more creativity, more drive, than I have ever had before."
He added that he wanted to leave a legacy, saying "I want to leave this world happier than I found it", and praised the quality of British cuisine overall.
He added: "I would say the Georgian period was the last time when Britain had cuisine (that was) not the envy of, but as high up there as anywhere else in Europe.
"And then Victorians came along and just dominated everything and then went completely into French. And I think even now ... I did try and persuade them at Buckingham Palace, state banquets, they are in French - why can't you write it in English?"
The Fat Duck's return takes the number of Michelin three-star restaurants in the UK to four. It joins the Roux Brothers' Waterside Inn, also in Bray, London's Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.
The number of two-star restaurants rose by one to 21 with the addition of Raby Hunt, in Summerhouse, near Darlington in County Durham. The number with one star rose by 18 to 147.
Billed by the restaurateur as "the furthest migration of a duck", Blumenthal announced in March 2014 that his award-winning venue would move to Australia in January 2015 before opening in Melbourne the following month.
Blumenthal is best-known for his eclectic approach to cooking, involving unusual taste combinations.
Rebecca Burr, editor of the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2017, said: "Our inspectors had many meals here during the course of the year and found the restaurant invigorated, rejuvenated and unquestionably worthy of being re-awarded our highest accolade."
This year's guide lists 3,375 restaurants.
Raymond Blanc, whose Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxfordshire has two stars, told the Press Association: "British cuisine is thriving in London in a way which is completely different than it used to be years ago.
"What I mean by that - now we have a mosaic of cultures, different foods in Great Britain, which is completely miraculous, extraordinary, hundreds of different cultures which are expressing themselves through multiculturalism, which is really a mirror image of what London is."