Martin Benn was born in Hastings, England. He began his career as a chef at the Oak Room in London learning French gastronomy under Michel Lorrain. From there Benn moved to work at The Landmark London and later The Criterion, where he came under the tutelage of Marco Pierre White.
Moving to Australia in 1996, Benn spent two years at Sydney’s Forty One Restaurant as sous chef. He later gained a place at Tetsuya’s, learning the fundamentals of Japanese cuisine from Tetsuya Wakuda, mastering them to become head chef at the age of twenty five.
In 2004, Martin joined the Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay as executive chef, returning to Tetsuya’s before a brief move to Hong Kong to undertake restaurant consultancy work. Returning to Sydney, Martin opened Sepia Restaurant in 2009, collaborating with George Costi to supplythe restaurant with the best quality seafood available. Since opening, Sepia has gone on to become one of Australia’s most awarded restaurants and was recently named ‘One to Watch’ at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and was voted 84th best restaurant in the world.
Benn was named The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2011 Chef of the Year and the following year saw Sepia awarded the prestigious The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Restaurant of theYear 2012, and Three Chefs Hats, a meteoric rise in just over two years. Sepia has maintained the highest rating of Three Chefs Hats and 18.5 points out of a possible 20 points for four consecutive years and was awarded The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year 2014 and 2015 and in 2015 was named Australian Financial Review’s Best Restaurant in Australia.
The past twelve months have also seen Martin Benn awarded Australian Financial Review’s Chef of the Year, Australian Gourmet Traveller Chef of The Year 2015 and The Weekend Australian Magazine’s Hottest Chef of the Year. In March 2015, Benn took the Sepia team to New York, at the invitation of Chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin, to showcase Sepia to New York’s influential media.
In 2009 esteemed New York publisher Phaidon produced a book, COCO, in which 10 world leading master chefs select the top 100 emerging contemporary chefs and chef Martin Benn was selected. Benn has appeared on the final week of Masterchef Australia, The Lifestyle Channel and also features in the latest series of Eric Ripert’s television show Avec Eric. In October 2014 Chef Martin Benn released his first book SEPIA – The Cuisine of Martin Benn published by Murdoch Books in Australia and released globally in 2015.