Clayton Wells first restaurant Automata opened at The Old Clare Hotel in Chippendale in September 2015. Since then Automata has been named one of Australia’s hottest restaurants in The Weekend Australian two years running; was awarded 2 hats in the prestigious The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide; was awarded 2* in Australian Gourmet Traveller’s Restaurant Guide 2017 and 2018; and Wells was also named hottest chef in Australia by The Weekend Australian Magazine and was shortlisted for best new talent in Australian Gourmet Traveller’s Restaurant Awards.
Wells has always had a passion for food. After eating at some of Sydney’s best restaurants as an apprentice he knew that the harbour city was where he wanted to cook.
Wells worked in the kitchen at three-hatted Sydney restaurant Quay, where he was chef de partie in Peter Gilmore’s brigade and later Tetsuya’s where he was junior sous chef.
The world was calling and in 2009 Wells moved to Europe. After travelling and working in Scandinavia, he moved to London to open Viajante with Nuno Mendes as senior sous chef, a restaurant that would soon earn a Michelin star. It was at Viajante that Wells met Loh Lik Peng, the start of a long friendship that would see them team up to open Automata at The Old Clare Hotel.
In mid-2011, Wells moved back to Sydney to open David Chang’s first Momofuku restaurant outside of New York, with Ben Greeno. Wells was sous chef to Greeno for three years at Momofuku Seiobo.
Earlier this year Wells opened A1 Canteen, a mere 20 metres from Automata.