Jo ward

lucas restaurants

Jo Ward is an industry leading pastry chef who has been likened to Heston Blumenthal for her innovative, multi-sensory, theatrical dishes.

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About Jo Ward

Jo credits her love for food and creation to her coastal upbringing, fishing and cooking with her step-father. As a teenager, Jo started out her career as a kitchen hand in a local hotel, and through her hard work and dedication she quickly earned the respect of the kitchen team. Her passion for food and creating was the drive in taking on a dual apprenticeship of commercial cooking and patisserie.

A desire to extend on her classical French training saw her move to Melbourne, taking up a position at Fenix under the guidance of George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan, where Jo learned a wide range of modern techniques. Her next move was to Taxi Dining Room working with Executive Chef Michael Lambie, before she headed to London to work at Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant, The Square.

In the subsequent years Jo gained an impressive list of experience in some of the world's leading restaurants, including Samuel's, No 35 at Sofitel Melbourne and Hamilton Island's Qualia.

In 2017 Jo took on the role of Executive Chef of Om Nom Kitchen at the Adelphi Hotel, where she put her own creative stamp on the iconic dessert venue. Her flair for innovation and presentation was recognised in 2018 when Jo was announced as finalist for Gaullt Millau Pastry Chef of the Year.

In recent times Jo has trained at Valrhona Chocolate's elite academy in Tokyo and been involved in a range of consulting, mentoring and collaboration roles throughout Australia and the Pacific. Jo has recently joined Lucas Restaurants and is very excited to be part of a new venue opening in August this year.

Jo believes the trick to a good dessert is contrast and balance. "A dessert needs to engage more than just one sense, it should be visually appealing, smell good and have a contrast in texture and flavour," she says. "Plating up is a favourite part of the job, I love that my experimenting with food has the ability to make someone's face light up because of something I've created. It doesn't get better with that".

Jo has kindly shared with us her recipe for Purple Cherry Glaze, a divine dessert element she uses to create her signature dish Cherry Poppins. View the recipe on the Flowerdale Farm website.