MOUNT ZERO HERO | Sean Donovan, Fitzroy Town Hall Hotel

August 10, 2023

“We were mucking around with olive oil at The Botanical Hotel (South Yarra) and Radii – at the Park Hyatt in the early 2000s – that’s how far back my relationship with Mount Zero goes,” says chef Sean Donovan, now the chef and co-owner – with his wife, Nat – of Fitzroy Town Hall on Johnston Street, Fitzroy. 

“At Radii, we had a producer who was looking after us and it must have been about 2006 that Richard turned up with Mount Zero and I’ve used it ever since,” he says. 

Sean says it’s not just because of his love for our products that’s kept him with Mount Zero but, “the relationship has been a big part of it, we are so well looked after and they’re great to work with,” he says. 

“The olive oil is delicious, I love the variety of oils on offer and also the other products,” he adds. When Sean took on The Station Hotel in Footscray in 2008, he took Mount Zero there, and again with him to The Town Hall in 2015.

Sean is a fan of our Frantoio extra virgin olive oil. He adds rosemary to it to pour over a Bollito Misto, and says our Yuzu Pressed EVOO works beautifully over barbecued squid. 

“Everything we do has a touch of Mount Zero on it,” he says. “I use it in everything; swirl over the top of salads or vegetables, brush our steaks and to finish sauces.” 

Sean also utilises our legumes – particularly the lentils. “I use them to garnish the sauces for roasts, actually, they complement just about every roast I’ve ever done.” 

Sean has shared his recipe for lamb shanks with us, to embrace the colder weather and also highlight our oil and lentils. 

“This dish is so comforting, and the lentils add richness and texture,” he says. “I have so much respect for Richard and what they do at Mount Zero. I caught up with him recently, he’s been so supportive of us and I reminded him of that. Mount Zero means a lot to us, it’s way more than a transaction.”  

The Fast Five 

1. If you weren't in hospo what would you be doing?    

Teaching maybe? I was offered a place at university to study a Bachelor of Education.  

2. Last place you dined out? 

Flower Drum

3. What's your favourite Melbourne restaurant? 

Jim’s Greek Tavern

4. Favourite season/s of the year for produce? 


5. Do you have any special projects scheduled for this year or beyond? 

Not immediately, I toy with the idea of going regional, but not just yet.

By Hilary McNevin