Jonny Lake

Jonny Lake

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Joining the team at The Fat Duck in 2005, shortly after the restaurant had topped the list of the fifty best restaurants in the world and won its third Michelin star, Jonny quickly found his feet and was blown away by how small the whole operation was. ‘I think there’s a misconception that it’s like a huge science lab,’ he explains. ‘It was actually one of the tiniest kitchens I’d ever worked in and I couldn’t believe the level of food that was coming out of it.’ Over the course of the coming years, Jonny was appointed head and then executive chef of the restaurant, helping to oversee a period of change which saw the phasing out of the à la carte menu in favour of the now-famous tasting menu and working on projects including moving the restaurant to Melbourne for a year.

It was also whilst he was at The Fat Duck that Jonny met his now business partner Isa Bal, who at the time was head sommelier. ‘I always enjoyed working with Isa on his side of things,’ says Jonny. ‘I think we always knew that we would end up doing something together eventually but we never really talked about it.’ After almost thirteen years in Bray, in 2015 Jonny took the decision to move on from The Fat Duck as he wanted to pursue something of his own alongside Isa. ‘Over the years I’d always be bringing in my own ideas,’ he explains. ‘But they had to be within the constraints of the tasting menu, and eventually you realised that you were fighting it a bit. I’d become comfortable, which is a good sign it’s time to do something different.’

In 2019, after months of careful planning, Jonny and Isa opened Trivet in Southwark. Offering people a chance to try Jonny’s bold style of cookery with Isa’s incredible talent covering the drinks, the menus are inspired by their various travels in an unintimidating setting. ‘I want to treat ingredients in an exciting and interesting way,’ he says, ‘but it also has to be super comfortable and approachable. We don’t ever want people to come in here and feel intimidated. We’re not trying to teach anyone anything but if ever someone wants to know more about something, the front and back-of-house have the knowledge to help.’

He may have spent close to half of his career at The Fat Duck, but Jonny Lake has proved that he’s a chef who won’t be defined by one restaurant. Within just a few years of first opening the doors to Trivet (and a nationwide lockdown to contend with), he won a Michelin star of his own and continues to be recognised as one of the country’s most exciting and inventive chefs.