Atlas, a new travel-inspired restaurant in Melbourne Australia has been garnering much-deserved attention since its opening six weeks ago. Part of the spotlight is on the restaurant’s ambitious concept, but most of it is on the chef’s age. Charlie Carrington is only twenty-two and he’s already become the youngest chef in Australia to earn a Hat (Australia’s Michelin star.)
The concept for Atlas revolves around Charlie picking up and leaving his restaurant every couple of months to travel to a new country. These travels will impart Charlie with knowledge that he’ll use to create an entirely new menu back in Melbourne, one that is based entirely on his latest trip. This innovative idea was born from Charlie’s nine-month trip around the world during which time he interned in some of the best restaurants in the world including The Jane in Antwerp and Gustu in Boliva.
Charlie might be a wunderkind in the kitchen but it was his failure in the classroom that drove him to drop out of school in the 10th grade and learn how to “be the best at something”. By the age of 15 Charlie was already interning for Gordon Ramsey’s head chef in the UK and that was just the beginning. After returning to Australia from the UK Charlie went to ask for a job at Vue de monde, another restaurant that has graced the “World’s 50 Best” list. Charlie worked a trial day; he was the first one in and last one out. The next day ex-Noma head chef Corey Campbell decided to hire him, but only because of his “passion, not because of his skills”. Though Charlie’s skills have since improved (an understatement), this valuable lesson remains with him to this day.
Written by Tara Lange