John Lawson
John Lawson

John Lawson

Born:  Basildon, Essex, UK

History: Brought up in a small town in Essex, John discovered his passion for food as a young man working at his father’s local pub washing dishes, while still at school.  After acquiring his diploma at Westminster College, John’s first experience of a working kitchen was doing a Stage at a family run restaurant in Toulouse called Restaurant La Rapiere, where he cooked dishes using produce from local farms sourced earlier in the day. 

In August 2002 John took on the role of Commis Chef at the two Michelin starred Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons in the Oxfordshire countryside, where he produced exceptional modern French cuisine under the guidance of Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones. His dedication and professionalism resulted in him rapidly moving up the ranks to become Senior Chef de Partie.

A period as Sous Chef at Aurora in London's five star Great Eastern Hotel then followed, before he took off to New York to undertake a four month Stage at Daniel, Daniel Boulud’s three Michelin starred fine dining restaurant. It was in New York that John first began working for Gordon Ramsay as part of the team involved with the opening of Gordon Ramsay at The London. He progressed quickly from Chef de Partie to Sous Chef; however, after three years in New York John moved to a more exotic location - Oman - where he worked as a private chef. 

In January 2010, John moved further east and took on the role of Head Chef at maze Melbourne from its inception, before becoming Executive Chef in early 2011. Following maze's closure, John leads the same premises into a new chapter as Executive Chef of Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
I decided to be a chef after a stint as a pot wash at my father’s local pub.

How would you define your style?
Fresh flavours, simple, balance of delicate combinations.

What is your feature flavour these days?
Japanese ingredients and trends.

Obsessive compulsive about?
Small detail, cleanliness and organisation.

Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences:
Raymond Blanc, Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay.

What do you love about this business?
Lifestyle, food and wine.

An ingredient you can’t live without?
Eggs, black pepper.

Most “eyebrow raising” menu item?
‘Tete de cochon’, which means 'pig's head'.

Signature dish: Crispy pork belly, calvalo nero, soybeans & dashi

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