John Cairns, Head Chef

Born and raised in North Devon, John Cairns (originally a highly skilled master stone mason) discovered both a talent and passion for food, inspired by his mothers home cooking.

He began his career in catering working as a kitchen porter at Damien Hirsts 11 the Quay, Ilfracombe, in 2010. Whilst there he began steadily working his way up through the ranks in the kitchen over a two year period, during which they received an AA rosette.

John then moved over to the Coach House Restaurant at the Kentisbury Grange Hotel. He was in the kitchen when they received two AA rosettes in 2013. Whilst there John took advantage of every opportunity to work in various areas of the kitchen, broadening his knowledge and experience of all things culinary.

When Thomas Carr decided to open his own establishment, John was his first and only choice as his sous chef, or second in command. "John is without a doubt one of the most naturally talented chefs I have ever had the privilege of working with. He has both unwavering dedication and incredible ability. I am extremely grateful to have him on board" - Thomas Carr

John is a superbly talented chef, calm under pressure, with an unrivalled work ethic. His passion for his craft, along with a desire to keep learning, makes him a highly valued asset to the team.

It was a dream come true for John to accompany Thomas to London to the Michelin Star presentation, becoming the head chef of a Michelin star restaurant at just 26 years old.

John currently resides in nearby Barnstaple with his wife, and their two young children. His spare time is spent with his family and friends, and making the most of the surrounding area.

Ellie Denyer, Front of House

Ellie has known Thomas for a long time, and has worked alongside him at the Olive Room on and off for the past two years.

Her background in front of house began working for Brend Hotels at the Saunton Sands hotel. She moved down to Falmouth in 2010 to work at the Brend Hotels Royal Duchy Hotel, as reservations, sales and marketing manager, before moving over to Front of House Manager.

On returning to North Devon, she worked for North Devon Theatres as a Front of House Manager, at both the Landmark theatre in Ilfracombe, and the Queens theatre in Barnstaple.

In the summer of 2016, Ellie left the theatres, returning to the Olive Room to work alongside Thomas and John.