Kray Treadwell Jono Hawthorne: It put me on the map. Everyone saw what I did and what I can do.

Alex South

Alex South


Kray Treadwell and Jono Hawthorne discuss chef hacks from their younger days, the challenge of opening your own restaurant and why it's important to support young chefs.

In this week’s episode of Grilled by The Staff Canteen head editor Cara Houchen was joined by new co-host Kray Treadwell, Chef Owner of 670 Grams, and their guest Jono Hawthorne, MasterChef: The Professionals 2020 finalist, and owner of Chef Jono at V&V in Leeds.

During the episode, the pair discussed when they first met in Copenhagen, the biggest purchases they’ve wasted money on, and things they would like change about themselves.


Jono entered the world of hospitality after attending the Thomas Danby food college in Leeds before being taken on by Wayne Brimbicombe to finish his apprenticeship at Beeties in Saltaire.

Talking about how he entered the industry, Jono explained: “I think it’s the same for everybody, everyone just falls into it.”

He said: “I went to college to do sport, to be a PE teacher, but it didn’t really work out. I didn’t really like the people in the class, didn’t really like the vibe, didn’t really get on with that sort of crowd so I fell into the restaurants and the catering side of things.”

Discussing his time at Beeties in Saltaire, Jono said: “It was a really good restaurant, a fine dining restaurant, and I probably wasn’t really ready for it if anything. It was very high end for that time. I just stayed and just progressed through there and eventually worked at a load restaurants and never left.”

Since then, Jono has trained in some of the world's most progressive and sought-after professional kitchens, from Michelin-starred Noma, The Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds and The Box Tree Ilkley.

He became a household name after taking part in MasterChef: The Professionals series 13 in 2020 where his talent stood out.

Talking about his time on the show, Jono said: “It put me on the map. Everyone saw what I did and what I can do.”

He added: “I was already working as a head chef, people in Leeds knew what I was doing, I was doing fine dining food, I already had a little bit of a reputation, so if anything, I was kind of putting myself on the line for doing it because I was already an ok chef. People knew what I was on about and what I was doing.”

His appearance on MasterChef: The Professionals allowed him to showcase his leftfield style and his mastery of culinary fundamentals, impressing judges Monica Galetti, Marcus Wareing, guest judge and two Michelin-starred chef Andrew Wong as well as critics Grace Dent and Tom Parker-Bowles.


Jono and Kray are two young chefs taking their industry by storm through what they’re doing in Leeds and Birmingham.

Despite the success and the platform they’ve created for themselves, the competition they face is vast, with their competitors represented by professionals who’ve worked in the industry for decades.

For the both of them, finding your place amongst the big fish and “champions league chefs” who operate across the country is crucial for not only building your name over time but ensuring your restaurant remains successful and popular with guests.

“I think there’s not enough publicity for everyone. I personally want to be one of them chefs now, I don’t want to be on TV, I just want to be in my restaurant and hopefully people will come,” explained Kray.

Talking about the challenges being new kids on the block against established stalwarts of the industry, Kray added: “I find it hard because especially in Birmingham there’s so many good places to go and eat, you don’t want to be a publicity whore all the time. There’s a lot big fish that already have that platform, and they’re not going anywhere, so it is what it is. Your time will come.”

Reflecting on his own success and the level of where he finds himself within the industry, Jono said: “I think that’s what it is. I think you and me, I think we’re at the bottom but we’re at a platform where we’re building. If we came back to Cara in 5 years, I’m not saying we’re going to be up there, but you never know, with the likes of Sat Bains and Michael [O’Hare], but you never we might be up there.”


Looking at the youth within the industry, Jono believes that there’s hundreds of talent young chefs with nowhere to go, who end up working for agencies because hotels and restaurants won’t take them on or allow them to express themselves.

“I think times have changed but I still think there are talented chefs are out there but still they’ve got nowhere to go. You want to open your own restaurant, it’s as simple as that, that’s where you want to be, where you can put your own thing on the menu. That is the only way, that is the only goal for a talented chef to be because there is nowhere to go,” explained Jono.

Both Jono and Kray own their restaurants and have that space to experiment and be creative with their food and menus, allowing them to build their profiles and brands.

However, owning a restaurant is no walk in the park.

Talking about the journey of wanting to start your restaurant and making the dream a reality, Jono revealed: “It’s tough because when you get in the building no one tells you the blueprint. You get in the building, there’s nothing there, there’s just bricks and mortar and you’re like ‘cool what’s the first thing I should buy?’, or, ‘what’s the first thing I should do?’ No one gives you the blueprint of like maybe you should speak to the council, maybe you should speak to a surveyor, maybe you should speak to the landlord.”

“There’s no blueprint for it. You just get on with it, you just do it,” explained Jono.

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

Alex South

Alex South

Editor 18th November 2022

Kray Treadwell Jono Hawthorne: It put me on the map. Everyone saw what I did and what I can do.