Our Story

Owner (and original Reluctant Chef), Anthony “Tony” Butt, uninspired by his oil & gas industry career, woke up one morning with a thirst for change. One thing he swore he’d never do was own a restaurant. 6 short days later, The Reluctant Chef opened its doors. It was a 27-seat restaurant with a microscopic kitchen in which Tony cooked, served & dish-washed his way through epic 9-course tasting menus that changed daily. Soon after, he stepped back to make room for a series of bright young Chefs and a small, truly exceptional service staff. A hot summer day in 2015 saw The Reluctant Chef cross the street (literally) to a 60-seat dining space with a speakeasy-style lounge, The Vinyl Room. The latest addition to the “Reluctant family” is The Brasserie at The Reluctant Chef, a modern Parisian-inspired bistro room.

As we evolve, our philosophy remains simple: Respect the guest, respect the food. We proudly work with local producers to showcase local, seasonal, sustainably-produced ingredients, to the greatest extent possible. The guest experience is everything – without the guest, there is no restaurant.

Thank you for your interest, for your business & thank you for supporting local small business.

Bon appétit!

Jeremiah Stafford

Jeremiah Stafford

Chef

Born and raised in Dorrigo NSW, Jeremiah Stafford grew up on a cattle farm that specialised in high grade Brangus free-range cattle. He began culinary training in senior high school and started as an indentured apprentice after graduating. He moved to Surfers Paradise to finish the apprenticeship under Marriott Hotels, and…

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then to Brisbane with the Marriott chain before leaving for Canada in 2009.In Ottawa, Jeremiah worked for the boutique Brookstreet Hotel before journeying further West to the Rockies in Alberta for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International. He returned to Australia in 2010 for a year to work at the ultra-luxury Hayman Island for 6 months then returned to Brisbane for further educational development. In 2011 Jeremiah returned to Alberta again to work for Fairmont Hotels as a Commis and progressed to Sous Chef in 4 years. In early 2016 it was time for his next step – he headed East to Atlantic Canada where the food scene is in many ways leading the way, nationally and internationally. Jeremiah was drawn to explore Canada’s culinary frontier for many reasons – particularly because the East coast is steeped in food history focused on foraging, using local artisan producers and showcasing terroir-driven cuisine. Says Chef: “I’m a Jack of all trades. Having worked from coast to coast in Canada and the eastern seaboard of Australia has opened my eyes to a wide array of cuisine and cultures which are backed up by an unquenchable thirst to learn more about national and regional cuisines and the history and people that define them. I’m an avid fan of modernist cuisine and representing that with a personal flair. I like cooking with people and learning from them, everybody has a unique history that defines their style and that is what I wish for us to portray at The Reluctant Chef. Most of all I take it humbly if people enjoy the food that our team creates, as it to me it is truly a representation of all the people that we have met in this industry, the knowledge and memories that we have exchanged and what we all truly enjoy as lovers in this profession: good food, good drink and great company.”
Scott Cowan

Scott Cowan

Sommelier

Scott Cowan is a Certified Sommelier and Beer Cicerone Level 1. He wrote and passed the certification exam in 2013 in Seattle, Washington via the Court of Master Sommeliers and has created hundreds of unorthodox food and wine pairing match-ups since, having worked officially and privately with a small stack of chefs.

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Like most sommeliers, part of his passion lies in the hunt for the ‘perfect pairing’. He treats these pairings like a jigsaw puzzle, often sifting through hundreds of tasting notes before settling on the right wine to purchase for a course. His process involves countless days and all-nighters of research; borrowing from chemistry, geology, and regional culinary history, and often collaborating with other sommeliers and chefs. Scott frequently contacts wineries to assemble a more detailed technical understanding of the products and regions. His co-workers have called him a “maniac” when it comes to this aspect of the job. Scott has visited many wine regions around the world and continues to travel annually. He is currently studying to write the Advanced exam in the Court of Master Sommeliers. At the end of the day, guest satisfaction is one of his greatest privileges in the world, with or without wine.
Anthony 'Tony' Butt

Anthony 'Tony' Butt

Owner

Anthony “Tony” Butt came to restaurant ownership after 12 years of flirtation with the culinary world of St. John’s. He decided to open original Reluctant Chef in December 2012, expanded to a larger space in 2015 and continues to grow & evolve his unique dining concept daily. In his spare time, Tony…

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(“HA! What spare time?” says he), wears several other hats – writer of screenplays for film, yoga student, amateur goalie, part-time philosopher & nature lover. It’s his ambition to someday turn The Reluctant Chef into an employee-owned & operated cooperative, eventually allowing him to retire to a life of writing in a cozy cabin in the woods…or a romantic Parisian café…or a shady balcony in Barcelona…you get the idea.