Starting his journey in Burlington, Ontario, esteemed chef Jonny Lake has made an impressive progression from his modest roots. He’s been through countless kitchens and countries, had the privilege to learn from globally recognized chefs and got an up-close experience with various food cultures. In this feature, we dive deep into Jonny’s history, his culinary adventures, views on the transforming industry, sustainability, and the significance of establishing bonds with ingredient suppliers.
Early Life and Culinary Awakening Hailing from Burlington, Ontario, Canada, not far from Toronto, Jonny was brought up in a family with South London roots. Despite their North American location, Jonny’s mother often mixed local dishes into their meals. While his early culinary exposure was limited, Jonny gradually discovered his love for cooking and set off on a journey that would take him worldwide. His original incentive to cook sprouted from his curiosity to experiment with various ingredients and methods. This curiosity guided him into different restaurant kitchens in Canada, Italy, and the UK.
Culinary School and Culinary Experience in Montreal While Jonny initially studied physics and biology at university, he eventually chose to follow his passion into the culinary world. He enrolled at the Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec in Montreal, known for its distinctive Italian program. This course gave him a chance to delve into new cooking techniques and ingredients while introducing traditional Italian cuisine into his skill set.
After graduating, Jonny started his professional journey at a cafe in Montreal, where he refined his skills in crafting soups, salads, and sandwiches. Volunteering at a Meals on Wheels kitchen ignited his passion for cooking, leading him to accept a full-time role there, organizing and guiding other volunteers.
Italian Sojourn: Learning and Evolution Jonny’s culinary path led him to Italy, where he spent three years sharpening his skills in various establishments. He started his Italian stint in Liguria, working at a Michelin one-star restaurant, Savona. Here, he was introduced to the freshest seafood and took delight in cooking with top-tier ingredients. Jonny later moved on to other renowned places like Quintilio and Alberetta, continuously enhancing his skills and evolving his unique culinary style.
During his stay in Italy, Jonny had the privilege of learning under the watchful eye of the distinguished Italian chef, Gualtiero Marchesi. This mentorship allowed Jonny to learn from a master and further broaden his culinary vision.
The Fat Duck and Heston Blumenthal Following his Italian journey, Jonny relocated to the UK, joining the ranks at the globally revered Fat Duck, run by the celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal. Starting as a Chef de Partie, Jonny quickly became an indispensable member of the team, learning innovative culinary techniques and pushing the envelope of culinary creativity.
While at the Fat Duck, Jonny developed a close professional bond with Master Sommelier Isa Bal. Their shared desire to offer unique and memorable dining experiences eventually inspired them to set up their venture, Trivet.
Trivet: A Culinary Collaboration Co-owned by Jonny and Isa, Trivet is a restaurant that blends their vast culinary experiences and their aspiration to provide a cozy and welcoming atmosphere for their patrons. Trivet’s menu centres around high-quality ingredients and meticulously crafted dishes while preserving a casual and unpretentious ambiance.
Trivet’s open kitchen allows diners to observe the preparation of their meals, enhancing the overall dining experience. Additionally, the restaurant stresses sustainability, sourcing ingredients locally and maintaining tight-knit relationships with suppliers to ensure only the freshest produce finds its way into their dishes.
Seasonal Influences and Menu Innovations The changing seasons heavily inspire Trivet’s menu, with dishes regularly updated to highlight the best of the season. This philosophy guarantees the ingredients used are fresh and top-quality and gives Jonny and his team a chance to play around with new tastes and techniques.
Some notable seasonal offerings at Trivet include the Drunk Lobster Trivet Noodles, a unique fusion of fresh lobster with sake-infused noodles, and the use of fermented elements like pickled lingonberries, adding layers and complexity to their dishes.
Sustainability and Trivet’s Future As an environmentally-conscious establishment, Trivet is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and ensuring sustainably sourced ingredients. By emphasizing seasonal produce and forging robust relationships with reliable suppliers, the restaurant contributes to a more sustainable food industry.
Looking ahead, Jonny and Isa aim to continue exploring the culinary possibilities at Trivet while keeping their focus on offering a relaxed, unpretentious dining experience. They remain dedicated to nurturing strong relationships with their suppliers and honouring their culinary heritage.
The Culinary Landscape of London and Trivet’s Part London has always been celebrated for its eclectic culinary scene, and Trivet fits right in. With their combined experience and passion for creating unique dishes, Jonny and Isa have carved out their space in the city’s competitive restaurant industry. Their dedication to sustainability, premium ingredients, and a relaxed dining atmosphere sets them apart, making Trivet a sought-after dining destination in London.
Final Thoughts Jonny Lake’s journey from Burlington to London has been a whirlwind of learning, growth, and culinary exploration. From his formative days in Montreal to his enriching experiences in Italy and the UK, Jonny has always stretched the limits of what’s achievable in the kitchen, ultimately leading to the birth of Trivet.
Together with Master Sommelier Isa Bal, Jonny has established a restaurant that brings together the best of their combined experiences, offering patrons a unique and unforgettable dining experience. As Trivet continues to evolve and flourish, there is no doubt that Jonny’s love for cooking and his dedication to sustainability will continue to mold the restaurant’s future.