Yorkshire-born, Donovan began work in kitchens aged 15. His talents saw him singled out by culinary luminaries Michael Roux and Marco Pierre White. He has worked at The Savoy Hotel and the Waterside Inn in London and La Cote St Jacques in Roigny, France. Donovan was Head Chef at the age of 23 at Harvey’s. Donovan came to Melbourne in 1996 where he was co-creator of the influential Est Est Est in 1997. Luxe was next was awarded The Age Good Food Guide three hats in its first year. Ondine followed and it was awarded Best New Restaurant in 2002.
From 2004, Donovan was chef de cuisine at Derby Restaurant and Bar at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. In 2005, he was recognised as Honorary Commander, La Commanderie des Cordon bleus de France for outstanding culinary achievements. In 2010, Donovan returned to Melbourne to become Executive Chef and partner of The Atlantic.