This week on the Woods Blog we’re featuring the acclaimed chef Ross Shonhan, creator of Flesh and Buns and The Bone Daddies. Formerly of Nobu and Zuma, Shonhan is a 6’4” Australian Chef with a passion for Japan and Japanese food.
That passion for Japanese food began when he landed the role of Head Chef at Nobu in Dallas, and subsequent travels to the US honed his desire to bring real ramen, not the usual rubbish you find in transport hubs, to London. In 2011 Shonhan decided to leave his role as Head Chef at luxury Japanese restaurant Zuma in Knightsbridge. Armed with 3 business plans, 1 for a ramen bar, 1 for a Japanese steakhouse and the other for an Izakaya (Japanese Pub) Shonhan began looking for suitable sites for all 3 restaurants.
The difficulty in finding suitable sites in prestigious London locations meant that his first venture was the ramen bar, which opened in Peter Street W1. Spending only £120,000 on the fit out of the 60 cover location, the restaurant consistently serves 2,700 customers a week. Crowded and loud, it continues to serve their signature Bone Daddies noodles. Quick to serve and eat, these complex, great tasting bowls of ramen involve many hours of preparation, from boiling bones into creamy, flavoursome broths to cutting our vegetables by hand to ensure the best, hand-crafted quality.
The success of this the first Bone Daddies venture has meant finding subsequent sites a lot easier for the organisation, which now features 7 restaurants, with an eighth in Victoria coming online soon. Along with a number of silent business partners, Bernard Kantor, the MD of Investec Bank is one of Bone Daddies’ backers and has proved to be incredibly enthusiastic about Shonhan’s ventures.
Shonhan grew up on a cattle farm in “middle of nowhere, Australia” and came to London when he was 21 to get experience in high-end eateries, landing a job at The Dorchester and Asia De Cuba. Shortly after that, he headed to the USA to work with the noted Texan chef, author, and restauranteur Stephen Pyles. At 26 Shonhan landed a dream job as head chef at Nobu Dallas, which he says was a wake-up call to the tough demands of the industry, with 21 hour days and Nobu Matsuhisa expecting absolute perfection from him.
The continued desire to deliver memorable, standout Japanese-inspired food has driven the opening of every new Bone Daddies restaurant. From ramen to izakaya or yōshoku, each one delivers something slightly different, with the guarantee of creative food full of flavour.