The Team


Donovan Cooke  |  CHEF PATRON

Donovan’s career spans three decades across three continents. Starting in Europe, he worked his way through the Savoy Hotel, Waterside Inn in Bray, Harvey’s in London and La Cote St Jacques in Burgundy. In 1997 he shifted his focus to Melbourne where he co-opened the highly influential restaurant Est Est Est, followed by Luxe (awarded 3 hats in its first year) and Ondine (Best New Restaurant, The Age Good Food Guide).

Donovan was presented with the reigns of the Derby Restaurant and Bar at The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club. He served as Chef de Cuisine for the next 6 and a half years. The spoils of Hong Kong not only came with the world’s finest ingredients from all corners of the world but it was where Donovan met Tanie Cooke, the love of his life, and Alex Law, his Head Chef and future business partner.

After working together for 13 years, Donovan and Alex still share a unique passion for fine dining that has catapulted them towards returning to Melbourne to start this new venture. They are continuously moving forward. It’s up to the rest of us to keep up.


Alex Law  |  Partner

With 25 years of hospitality experience, Hong Kong native Alex Law has high expectations of how food should be sourced, taste and be experienced. Alex rose through the ranks at the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club, building a strong and respected reputation for his craftsmanship. When he started working with Donovan at the Derby Restaurant and Bar, their lifetime partnership was confirmed.  Sharing the same goals and passion for food, Alex moved his family to Melbourne at Donovan's suggestion and has never looked back. Since working in Melbourne, he has taken the time to nurture and train the young chefs around him, becoming an inspiration to those he mentors.


Vicente Ruel Montalban  |  Partner

Vicente has been a close friend to the duo, Donovan and Alex, for many years. Having lived in Australia with his wife Ana for 21 years, he has always been a passionate and staunch supporter of the duo's talent. With a background in architecture and interior design, his ideas and direction have created Ryne's distinctive rustic industrial look.



Tayla Burn  |  Pastry CHEF

Tayla's career started off as an apprentice under Donovan. She learnt every technique possible in the world of pastry with the intention of portraying emotion in each dish she creates. Her goal is to remind people of something special while they indulge. She now continues to share her knowledge and use her creativity with the whole team at Ryne.