NEW VIDEO: "We want staff to perform at the highest level"

Alex South

Alex South



Jonny Bone is the next LAFONT featured chef, he talks to The Staff Canteen about Core By Clare Smyth, his experience working with Clare, and how to effectively mentor and motivate staff at the three Michelin-starred restaurant.

Core by Clare Smyth produces some of Britain’s most captivating and intricate examples of fine dining thanks to Head Chef Jonny’s attention for detail and his sacrifice in the pursuit of perfection.

Offering guests a wide array of natural, sustainable food, sourced from Britain’s most dedicated farmers and food producers; the restaurant is a renowned powerhouse that has already picked up three Michelin stars, five AA rosettes and a rare 10/10 from The Good Food Guide.

Pushing the boundaries of gastronomy; Clare, Jonny and the Core team seek out the best of British produce, working with farmers to champion sustainable ingredients used throughout the menu.

Open Tuesday to Saturday, the restaurant caters for 50 lunchtime covers and 60 dinner covers with its team of 25 chefs and 20 front house staff, creating a prestigious yet informal fine dining gold mine.


Jonny has worked at Core by Clare Smyth since it opened its doors to the public in 2017, for him the restaurant is his home, a sentiment he’s worked hard to create and pass on to the countless guests who’ve visited the restaurant over the years.


Explaining the vision shared between himself and Clare, Jonny revealed: “We wanted to achieve a brilliant, fantastic restaurant but we just wanted also to be a place that everyone wanted to come to, and that people enjoyed and had a great time every lunch or dinner whenever they were here but also to make it very much feel like a home, so that someone was coming to our home to eat, to dine to enjoy themselves, to celebrate.”

Before opening the restaurant in 2017, Jonny worked extensively with Clare at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay where he climbed the ranks from commis chef to junior sous before undertaking a number of stages around the world, which included Geranium in Copenhagen, Blue Hill in New York and Restaurant Sat Bains up in Nottingham.

Explaining how his role has changed since Core’s opening, Johnny said: “Since 2017, my role has changed but also stayed the same. It's a strange analogy but a big part of my role has moved on more and more not just looking after the food and looking after the standards every day, but making sure the team is moving forward, mentoring, and working with them to create great new young chefs.”


For Jonny, the menu at Core goes beyond the food itself, profiling each ingredient in a way that celebrates the differing stories of each individual bit of produce.

We work with fantastic produce and we're working with the stories that surround those amazing producers and produce, and that's history within the UK, traditions that may be long forgotten, recipes, foods; that's the enjoyment,” Jonny revealed.


The food at Core by Clare is Smyth is incredibly natural and vegetable focused uniquely demonstrating the UK’s rich array of produce.

Explaining the inspiration behind the restaurant’s menu, Jonny affirmed: “It's things that we love to eat, and we enjoy, and I think that's one of the biggest parts of it.”

“We're on a journey of continuously learning and understanding new things about the smallest and maybe before insignificant ingredients that we don't think about, and that's what we are at Core,” he added.


Jonny’s passion for demonstrating the journey behind the ingredients that form the foundation of Core’s menu runs central throughout the menu.

Whether its carefully crafted lobsters rolls that transport guests to British seaside beaches; or Core’s signature lemon verbena Eton mess, a dish that has remained relatively unchanged since 2017, everything at Core has its place in the restaurant’s overall vision of fine dining.

Describing how he, Clare and the team create and develop the restaurant’s menu, Jonny explained: "We’re constantly trying and tasting new things and deciding on where we take the next dish. We want it to be perfect. We're always searching to make it really, really unique and perfect, and just enjoyable to eat is the biggest thing."

Jonny’s interactions with food aren’t simply defined in the kitchen with the chef admitting he’s passionate about discovering and experiencing flavours from other restaurants across the London, the UK and internationally during his travels.

"When I'm not at work, I love to eat at quite simple restaurants,” explained Jonny.

He added: "One of my favourite restaurants is Trinity in Clapham, simple ingredients cooked really well I really enjoy it, and I just love to travel as well."


Becoming head chef at Core by Clare Smyth is a huge achievement and reflects the calibre of chef that Jonny is.

The strong partnership between two has lead to huge developments with the culinary and hospitality world, with the two working in synergy together.

Discussing the working relationship between the two, Jonny explained: “I’ve been working with Clare a long time now. I think it's 13/14 years over different restaurants. I absolutely love working with her, it's a daily communication working on the food, the restaurant, the team.”

To work for one of the greatest chefs in the world is transformative process for Jonny and his team alike, allowing him to develop his already terrific cheffing talent and mentor his dynamic kitchen team.

Describing Clare’s impact across the restaurant, Jonny revealed: “She's in every day which is so fantastic and great for me just working together all the time. Seeing her being able to reach out around the world and do different things as well and bring those great experiences and knowledge back to the team at Core, we continually move forward and she is the point that challenges us all and moves us all forward.”


A big part of Johnny’s role is to ensure that his team are also developing in the right way and staff continue to meet the three Michelin-starred expectations set by himself and Clare.

Describing the ethos in the kitchen and how he gets the best out of his staff, Jonny explained: “With our team at Core, we're constantly challenging them in a new and different way every day. We're nurturing them in the sense of their work every day, we challenge them because we want them to become great cooks.”

Ensuring your team performs at their highest level is no easy feat in any kitchen but especially so when it’s being demanded one the country’s most renowned restaurants.

Elaborating on Core’s culture and how they get the best out of staff, Jonny explains how the procedures put in place not only develop staff internally but also allow employees to hit a standard that is impossible to beat, even by some of Core’s competitors.

"We want staff to perform at the highest level and one of the great things is with the team that are here, and they work out really hard all day, they're loving what they do, they always have a smile on their face and creating that atmosphere is really important,” he said.

Jonny added: “We've had team members that have gone through the kitchen, gone through all of the development that we've put them through, and they've gone on to do fantastic things, and straightaway because of their training, because of their mentorship, they're already excelling where they are. One of our young ladies has gone off to the French Laundry and within weeks she was already promoted to a more senior role straightaway, flourishing, just because of her work ethic and a way to be.”

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 27th February 2023

NEW VIDEO: "We want staff to perform at the highest level"