Heston Blumenthal threatens legal action against French bistro in battle of two Fat Ducks

'I thought it was a joke at first. This is really way over the top. What threat am I to them?'

Heston Blumenthal has demanded that a bistro in a small village in France change its name because it is the same as his restaurant in Berkshire, the Fat Duck.

Jason Annetts, 41, who is British but lives in Confolens, near Limoges, opened the Fat Duck there in November last year, The Times reported. He said he chose the name because his one-year-old daughter Maisie’s first word had been “duck”.

However, he has now received a letter from lawyers acting for the celebrity chef insisting that he changes the name in case there was any “confusion” that the bistro is connected with Blumenthal.

“I thought it was a joke at first. This is really way over the top. What threat am I to them? I am really upset,” Mr Annetts told The Times.

The two restaurants are somewhat different. A meal at Blumenthal’s Fat Duck can cost £255, while Mr Annett’s Fat Duck serves coq au vin for just £8.50.

An offer to change the name to Le Fat Duckling was turned down, said Mr Annetts, who painted the sign himself.

He said he was reluctant to change the name because he was “not a rich man and I cannot afford the time or the money”.

Previously Mr Annetts ran a pub in Cambridge called the Three Horseshoes, a commonly used name for bars around the UK. He said he thought the same would apply with the Fat Duck.

A spokesman for Blumenthal’s Fat Duck said: “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.”