A New York City chef is channeling his years of travel and love for the kitchen in the newest season of “Top Chef.”
Originally from Port Douglas, Australia, cooking is something that came naturally to Lo. His father is a chef, and of his father’s 16 brothers and sisters, only one out of 11 brothers isn’t a chef.
“I was kind of born into this chef industry where we had a restaurant, all my relatives did cooking. I fell in love with it,” said Lo. “My dad told me to flip an omelet one time and I did it perfectly. Ever since then that time, you couldn’t get me outside of the kitchen.”
Lo’s hometown is small and sits on the Great Barrier Reef. Though it was a beautiful slice of paradise, the opportunities for higher-end cooking were in bigger cities. At 14 years old, Lo started working at 5-star hotels on weekends as well as his family’s restaurant during the week. At 17, Lo continued his journey into professional cooking by going to Melbourne and enrolled in the William Angliss Institute while still working in restaurants in his free time.
During his time in Melbourne, he earned an opportunity to cook abroad at the 2 Michelin star Château Cordeillan-Bages in Pauillac, France for two months. After returning to Australia and working for chef Raymond Capaldi for a few years, Lo went up to London to work at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road, where he learned under one of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s proteges.
“I worked for a protege of his named Clare Smyth, who is now the number one female chef in the world. She is a three Michelin star chef herself with her own restaurant. To work under her was incredible,” said Lo. “Everything I was learning was like a second-generation point of view with modern techniques, and the way we approach people in the kitchen. Gordon is an amazing person, an amazing chef and probably the most focused and on the ball sort of person.”
Lo then headed to New York City and has been here for four years. Currently, Lo is the Executive Chef at HŪSO, the first and only “farm-to-spoon” caviar speakeasy with an opulent 8-course that New York City has to offer, and Lo says that his experience in the states has been very different compared to overseas.
“It’s all completely different. It’s all different cultures, America’s got a different way of approaching things but I appreciate all forms and styles of cooking,” said Lo.
Lo is competing alongside other talented chefs in the newest season of “Top Chef,” entitled “Top Chef: Houston.” For those who aren’t familiar, “Top Chef” takes 15 chefs and challenges them to make amazing dishes in an effort to earn the title of “Top Chef.”
“Being on a cooking competition was a bucket list of mine, that doesn’t portray it enough but I went in cooking a lot of fine dining stuff because that’s what I wanted to show on television, so across the board, I love cooking everything,” said Lo. “A competition was something I wanted to do. I did a lot of competitions as a teenager to push myself but I never did one on television.”
Lo had originally applied for the show’s 18th season because he had some more free time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He wasn’t cast back then, but was chosen later for this current season. With the support of his team at HŪSO, Lo decided to go for it.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m from Australia, we don’t get these kinds of things very often, to be able to get it has been a dream come true,” said Lo. “It’s an absolute dream to be a part of the show. I’ve always wanted to do a thing like that. It’s incredible.”
Lo has been putting all of his skills to the test in the new season of “Top Chef,” even securing a win in the fourth episode’s elimination challenge. Lo hopes that those who watch his experience on “Top Chef” see that you should take to opportunities to go out of your comfort zone and that sacrifices will pay off in the end.
“I had a lot of sacrifices in my life. I moved when I was 17 years old, I finished high school and as soon as I felt comfortable I kept on leaving to another uncomfortable area — London with Gordon Ramsey, France, New York, constantly leaving everything behind,” said Lo. “It shows the people who have these sort of thoughts, ‘Should I go overseas, should I go do this, should I go out of my comfort zone, is it worth it?’, I want to show people who watch the show that coming out of your comfort zone and wanting to achieve these sort of goals and making these hard sacrifices will pay off one day.”