Shannon Bennett was born in 1975 and raised in Westmeadows Melbourne. He attended Penleigh Essendon Grammar school where an opportunity to travel to the girls school to study home economics was too good to pass up! Together with fellow classmate Curtis Stone, Shannon realised a passion for cooking. This was cemented by trips to Europe where his Uncle Tom introduced him to the sophisticated world of restaurants.
Before moving to Europe and working for some of the world’s great chefs including Albert Roux, John Burton-Race, Marco Pierre White and Alain Ducasse, Shannon commenced his training at Melbourne’s Grand Hyatt under the astute tutelage of Roger Lienhard. Following his European adventures he returned to his hometown of Melbourne in 2000 and at just 24 years of age opened his first restaurant Vue de monde in a humble terrace style building in Carlton. Shannon was quickly noticed for his edgy approach combined with an obsession for classical cuisine and a cult following was established amongst Melbourne’s diners. In 2003 Australian Gourmet Traveller awarded Shannon their inaugural ‘Best New Talent’ title.
In 2005, Shannon relocated Vue de monde to the historic Normanby Chambers in Melbourne’s CBD. Although an opulent dining room, it retained a sense of quirkiness and had a large open kitchen as its main feature. In 2006 Café Vue and Bistro Vue followed extending the offering to more casual options at the same city location. Two further Café Vues opened in 2009 – Café Vue at 401 St Kilda Rd and Café Vue at Heide at the iconic modern art museum in Bulleen. Having long held a dream to provide great food in an airport setting Café Vue at Melbourne International Airport opened in 2010 with another express option launching soon afterwards.
In recognition of a developing international profile Shannon was invited to be the first Australian member of the associations Jeunes Restaurateurs D’Europe and Les Grandes Tables Du Monde. In 2007 Shannon was a guest chef at New York’s Star Chefs Congress, cementing his position on the global culinary scene.
Vue de monde enjoyed six very successful years at its Normanby Chambers location and during this time scored an unprecedented 19/20 in The Age Good Food Guide and was awarded Restaurant of the Year on multiple occasions. Despite this success (or because of it!) Shannon decided it was time to take Vue de monde to even greater heights and so to the top floor of Melbourne’s iconic Rialto. The expansive space, with 360 degree views and incorporating The Lui Bar and Vue Events together with Vue de monde, was more than two years in the making and takes Melbourne’s glory days as its inspiration, especially the period of the gold rush. Shannon’s creative flair is evident throughout and his commitment to sustainability an essential factor in the build. Echoing the successful transition to this unique location Vue de monde was once again awarded the coveted title of Restaurant of the Year by The Age Good Food Guide 2013.
However, Vue de monde is far, far more than breakthrough achievements in responsible restaurant operation and a string of accolades. People travel the world over to eat Shannon’s remarkable food. Maurice Chevalier famously said, “I never eat when I can dine”. These are words taken to heart by Shannon. Vue de monde is testament to the belief that restaurant food can be a wondrous, unforgettable experience. Without compromise, in his principles or ingredients, Shannon has fashioned his own innovative way of cooking, matching the efforts of acknowledged masters worldwide.
Reviews and word of mouth have resulted in notoriety achieved largely through Shannon's obsession for classical cooking, which has seen him reinterpret the fare of creators such as Carême, Dugléré and Escoffier, and develop an exciting, cutting-edge cuisine of his own. Shannon’s dedication and pride have established him as one of Australia’s most exciting chefs and restaurateurs. Shannon's philosophy is to provide a dining experience that is theatrical and cannot be replicated at home. He achieves this through his commitment to the dining experience as a whole; from the sourcing of rare ingredients, to his uncompromising approach to classical technique and his insistence on the very best of restaurant service, including crockery, cutlery and glassware.
An accomplished author, Shannon’s first two books, My Vue and My French Vue, are both in their second editions. Shannon Bennett’s Paris (Shannon’s personal guide to his favorite city) was originally released in December 2009, Shannon Bennett’s Guide to New York was released in March 2011 and Shannon Bennett’s Guide to France in November 2012. All of these are now in their second editions. Shannon Bennett’s Provence landed in November 2012 with his latest novel, Cooking All Over the World hitting shelves in 2014.
Shannon’s current projects include the complete redevelopment of the Burnham Beeches property at the foothills of the Dandenongs with business partner Adam Garrisson. Phase #1 of this behemoth undertaking is now live with the Burnham Bakery & Piggery Café opening its doors to the public in June 2014. On top of all this the research and writing for Shannon’s Bennett’s The Best of Europe and Shannon Bennett’s London is underway in between balancing his role as brand ambassador for Miele, Audi and Nespresso.
And there’s Shannon’s other venture, the Vietnamese/French-twist food establishment, Jardin Tan, that opened in July 2014 in Melbourne’s acclaimed Royal Botanic Gardens, not to mention a series of other secret undertakings on the go simultaneously.