The impressive achievement of becoming an executive chef should never be understated; it involves hours of dedication to cooking, army-like discipline, and talent. That’s why Richard Lovett, chef and recruiter with Octopus Hospitality, blew us away when he quietly said that he had obtained a position as executive chef at only twenty-one years old.
As Melbourne began to make a name for itself as a proprietor of excellent food in the early 80’s, Richard did to. To put the 80s into perspective, Claude Forell, editor of the first issue of The Age Good Food Guide, wrote “[in 1980] dining out is a more popular leisure activity than going to parties, the races, football or cricket”.
In the 1980’s Melbourne played host to the decline of international restaurants, the consequential development of a modern Australian cuisine, and the rise of Melbourne’s first great Australian chefs, people Richard calls ‘friends’ and ‘former colleagues’.
From 1983 to 1988 Richard took on the role of head chef at Burnham Beeches. The art deco gem made its way onto the world map when it was invited to join Relais et Châteaux, an exclusive global fellowship of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants. Working for a Relais et Châteaux member restaurant opened up opportunities for Richard to experience the mixed plate of culinary styles across Europe. From the Michelin star, Auberge des Templiers in France to the historic Gravetye Manor in West Sussex. But with all the Michelin stars, expensive glassware, and high paying customers Europe had to offer, Richard eventually found a place to call home in Barbados.
Settling into the island life-style for a decade, Lovett became well acquainted with Caribbean cuisine and culture. However, he kept his adoration for French cuisine satiated with trips on his days off to Martinique, a small French island located in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The island sourced in fresh truffles, wild mushrooms, beans, and beautiful cheeses all from France, “It’s like having a little piece of Paris in the Caribbean” Richard said.
After 10 years in the Caribbean, Richard decided it was time to start his next venture in Canada, where he started up his own food service facility design, supply and install company. His company installed and designed kitchens for pastry shops, deli’s, cafes, restaurants, etcetera. One of his favourite projects was for a client who gave him free reign to develop the kitchen. Richard did everything, from presentation plates, menu design, kitchen design, interior, and FF&E.
In Canada Richard grew his business and his family. Together Richard, his wife, and two kids decided to move back to Melbourne, but with a 3-year layover to live in the Caribbean one last time. Richard was appointed head chef of La Source, a luxury resort in Grenada. The second half of his stay he moved to St. Lucia and became Director of Catering for sun swept resource groups.
After decades of exploration and growth, in 2012 Richard made his way back to where his career began, Melbourne. He joined our team in 2017, just in time to start recruiting for the spring carnival. Richard is an excellent chef with great taste, experience, and creativity. We are so happy to have him on our team.