Chef Louis Tikaram was raised on a 110-acre farm in Mullumbimby, on the north coast of New South Wales in Australia. At an early age, he began exploring his Fijian heritage in the kitchen beside his Fijian-Chinese grandmother, but his appreciation for his family’s culture and cuisine was fully developed while living in Fiji as a pre-teen. Following high school in Australia, Tikaram moved to Sydney recognizing that his passion for cooking was strong enough to support a career. He served as an apprentice at Longrain, a highly respected Southeast Asian-inspired Sydney restaurant under Chef Martin Boetz, who would become Tikaram’s long-term mentor. He went on to work at Bentley Restaurant + Bar with Brent Savage whose menu was influenced by contemporary European trends.
In 2008, Tikaram moved on to Tetsuya’s, a Relais & Châteaux property that is one of Sydney’s most honored restaurants. Reporting the experience had a profound impact on his development as a chef, Tikaram explains, “I learned the passion of Japanese chefs, who taught me discipline and consistency.” With Chef/Owner Tetsuya Wakuda’s connections around the globe, Tikaram was given the opportunity to work in restaurants from Vancouver to Barcelona, further polishing his craft.
When Chef Martin Boetz announced he was departing critically acclaimed Longrain, the apprentice became the master when he handpicked Tikaram to take over as executive chef. With total creative authority, Tikaram refined his personal culinary style, based on a simple, heartfelt philosophy. “I really believe in flavorsome, healthy food—the kind of food I love to eat,” he says. “I’m not influenced by current trends, and I stay true to what I love to cook.” It was at Longrain that Tikaram was named “2014 Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year” by the Sydney Morning Herald “Good Food Guide” which catapulted his name internationally and caught the eye of investors in Los Angeles, California.
The opportunity to run the kitchen at E.P. & L.P. in West Hollywood was an exciting prospect for Tikaram, who incorporated Southern California’s fresh produce into dishes inspired by his unique cultural heritage. “The menu at E.P. & L.P. was a direct reflection of my career. It tells the story of my life, the places I’ve traveled, and the food that inspires me,” the 35-year-old chef says. “Intermixing ingredients and techniques that I’ve grown up with—such as fresh turmeric & galangal, exotic spices, hand squeezed Coconut Milk, and wood grilling—infused with SoCal flavor for a playful take on my favorite foods.”
After six extremely successful years in the USA not only in the kitchen though also in high end and popular media such as “The Today Show”, CBS “This Morning” and features in “food and Wine magazine” “Vice” and most recently stared in a EMMY award winning episode of “The Migrant Kitchen” showcasing Tikaram & his unique culture and food in Los Angeles.
Tikaram was drawn home in 2019 to the area he grew up by another multi-venue offer and recreating what he achieved in West Hollywood though this time focusing on his Chinese heritage at the newly opened Stanley Cantonese Restaurant at “Howard smith wharves” on the thriving Brisbane River. Tikaram is shaking up the Brisbane dining scene with his return in a big way showcasing the best QLD meat, seafood, and vegetables through his take of classic Cantonese fair including Peeking Duck, Sweet and Sour Pork, Kung Pao Chicken and Lobster Lo Mein.
When he is not working in the kitchen, Tikaram enjoys Family time with his wife and two Daughters, running and cycling, as well as surfing. A chef who maintains a profound respect for the sea and its creatures, Tikaram is a supporter of various ocean conservation advocacy groups.