Meet The Chef: Connor Hartley-Simpson


Connor Hartley-Simpson has spent more than 11 years working in some of the best restaurant kitchens in Brisbane, London, San Francisco, and Stockholm. 

Connor got a taste for cooking from an early age, following his chef dad around the restaurant kitchen as a kid. He began his professional chef career working alongside his dad in Stanthorpe where he completed his apprenticeship. Once qualified, Connor moved to Brisbane to work at two-hat restaurant, Stokehouse Q and then three-hat, Esquire. He learnt early on what was expected of chefs cooking at an exceptionally high level.  

Eventually compelled to head overseas, Connor landed a job as chef de partie at two-Michelin starred London restaurant The Ledbury working under Brett Graham – the highest ranked Australian chef in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.  

Keen to experience the United States, Connor hopped over to San Francisco’s three-Michelin starred Quince, under celebrated chef Michael Tusk and chef de cuisine, Neil Stetz. Nightly-changing tasting menus and access to a dedicated kitchen farm was a highlight for Connor and he credits Quince with solidifying his technique and love for cooking high quality meat. 

Next stop was Stockholm in Sweden where an opportunity as sous chef, and then eventually head chef, at two-Michelin starred restaurant Gastrologik was too good to pass up. Owned by two renowned Swedish chefs, Jacob Holmström and AntonBjurh, the restaurant only used locally sourced Swedish produce and worked incredibly close with producers to understand their individual stories. In late summer, Connor and the other chefs would preserve ingredients to use during winter so that they would have a healthy supply of Swedish ingredients to focus the menu around. 

Eventually, Connor headed back to Australia to join his fellow Ledbury alumni, Billy Hannigan, assenior sous chef for the launch of elegant European grand brasserie and bar, The Charles in October 2022. His exceptional talent, technique, and creativity didn’t go unnoticed which is why Connor is now heading up the kitchen at Etymon Project’s newest venture, Poetica. It’s here, as head chef, that Connor gets to showcase his own unique cooking style, inspired by the incredible and diverse experiences throughout his career to date. 

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