Yorkshire-born, Donovan Cooke unofficially began his career when he was very young, his family lived in Hull and his grand mother had a fish & chip shop, supplying the freshest and best local produce to the town. This is where his love of quality and local ingredients started.
Donovan officially began work in kitchens aged 15. His talents quickly saw him singled out by culinary heavy weights Michael Roux and Marco Pierre White, to name a few.
In the late 80’s Donovan had been working at Michel Roux's The Waterside Inn as chef de partie – here he had to learn everything from the ground up even before he could touch the stoves.
Donovan has fond memories of working underneath Mr Roux, however the time to move on had eventually come.
In 1991 , after a knock at a back door of Marco Pierre White’s – Harvey’s Donovan offered his services. After a month he was promptly promoted to head chef and from that moment, Donovan and Marco worked together for a further four years at a number of his restaurants.
Donovan attributes these 4 years as the years that changed him as a chef, forever.
From London Donovan was France bound where, at La Cote St Jacques in Roigny, then onto Australia, Melbourne in 1996 where he opened the iconic Est Est Est , in 1997 Luxe was next then Ondine in 2002.
Donovan was lured to China to the Derby Restaurant and Bar at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, where he had the infamous “most expensive menu in the world” finally he headed back to Melbourne in 2010 to open The Atlantic Restaurant in 2011.
The Atlantic Restaurant is the largest restaurant that Donovan has captained in his career, specialising in delivering the freshest and best, local and sustainable seafood to the 2,000 + guests every week.
During his time at The Atlantic Donovan has been constantly busy with filming Masterchef episodes, private events, and writing The Atlantic at Home Cookbook, and various other printed media.