Changes at Lume as chef-owner Shaun Quade heads to LA

Shaun Quade and his dish Pearl on the Ocean Floor on MasterChef.
Shaun Quade and his dish Pearl on the Ocean Floor on MasterChef. Photo: Ten

South Melbourne fine diner Lume as you know it is ending as chef-owner Shaun Quade and partner Veronica Fils make the move to Los Angeles to increase their chances of opening a venue there.

For the past year, Quade and Fils have been shuttling between Melbourne and the United States, seeking a restaurant site in West Hollywood. They are still site-less, but hope being settled in LA will speed up proceedings.

During the search, Lume's head chef Eileen Horsnell has largely been running Melbourne operations. With the permanent move, Quade will formally relinquish control of Lume's kitchen at the end of 2018.

John Rivera is stepping into the head chef role at Lume.
John Rivera is stepping into the head chef role at Lume. Photo: Supplied

In a surprise hire, Quade has lured 25-year-old chef John Rivera, a finalist for the 2018 San Pellegrino Young Chef award and until recently chef de partie at Armadale's Amaru. This will be Rivera's first head chef role, but Quade is confident.

"John is the oldest 25-year-old I know. I was given these kinds of opportunities when I was his age. I think he can handle himself really well."

The new appointment will coincide with a change of pace at Lume. A quick renovation will happen in January, when Rivera's menu will officially launch. The lengthy degustation format will be replaced by a more casual style of dining. "We have a great following," says Quade, "but we want to be more accessible, and the family, shared style of eating is important to John."

Quade's signature Pearl on the Ocean Floor.
Quade's signature Pearl on the Ocean Floor. Photo: Josh Robenstone

Meanwhile, Horsnell, along with Lume's star bartender Orlando Marzo, will be working towards opening a multi-faceted wine bar and catering company in the CBD that will also produce bottled cocktails and a range of plant-based foods.

Quade's last service at Lume will be on New Year's Eve, which he's billing as the last chance to taste his signature Pearl on the Ocean Floor, the dish that featured on MasterChef in 2016.

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