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.
June Krystelle Cooke | SOMMELIER
Mentored by two great sommeliers in Melbourne over the course of her career, Krystelle got her first taste of fine dining, working at Vue de Monde as an apprentice sommelier. Her experience spans from working at reputable establishments where she explored different styles of service and management. Completing several WSET courses before the age of 20, Krystelle aims to become one of the few masters of wine in the world and share all the accumulated skills and knowledge with a wider audience.
samantha lam | SOUS CHEF
Samantha was recruited by Donovan Cooke to join his award-winning team at The Atlantic Restaurant in 2012. The reputation she's built for herself is based on her irrepressible attitude for delivering the ultimate culinary experience for each and every guest. When she's not in the kitchen, you will find her in the south of France or northern Spain documenting and enjoying her obsession with food and wine.
BENJAMIN BOUDAUD | SOUS CHEF
Classically trained from the age of 14 at Lycee Hotelier Souillac in the South of France, Ben has had the chance to work in a wide range of hospitality jobs ranging from cafes to Michelin star restaurants. It was only when discovered by Donovan Cooke at The Atlantic Restaurant in Melbourne five years ago that Ben truly hit his stride. It was never a question that Ben would complete the high calibre team at Ryne.