Words of Advice, The Legends ~ Rowley Leigh

With Shaun Hill breaking the mould when we did the last ‘5Questions ~ The Legends’  as he is still at the stove, we were then asked by a profile, chef would we approach our next participant.

Rowley Leigh made his name in the mid 80’s as Head chef of the Roux owned ‘Le Poulbot’ restaurant, being named ‘The Times, restaurant of the year’ in 1986. A Year later Mr Leigh, together with Nick Smallwood and Simon Slater opened Kensington Place. Often the place to be seen in the late 80’s and into the 90’s. In December 2006 he left to set up on his own again, this time at Le Cafe Anglais opening in 2007. On the 2nd September Le Cafe Anglais re-opened after a small closure for a refurbishment.

On the recommendation of a reader of the blog, we bring you Mr Rowley Leigh.

1.How do you feel the industry has changed over the considerable years you’ve been working in a starred kitchen?

Well, it’s a lot tamer than it used to be.  Instead of being the ‘wild-west’ it’s now more like the ‘mid-west’.  People are much better behaved in the kitchen right now.

2.What advice would you give to any chefs reading this, who feel that they have what it takes to achieve Michelin stars & AA Rosettes?

If all you want to do is win awards, then good luck.  That’s not why you should be cooking.  You should be cooking because you love and have a passion for it, and you want to bring people enjoyment.

3.Have your views towards the guide books changed or have they remained the same over the years?

I think they used to be much more important than what they are now.  They just don’t have the same impact as they used to.  This is probably because there’s so much more information out there – with blogs, the internet, word of mouth, and just so many other guide books.  The guide books are just so under-funded at the moment, that they don’t have that much authority anymore.

4. Do you feel that cooking skills are being diminished with the growing use of equipment like waterbaths, sous-vide, pacojets & thermomixes?

Yes, i do.

5.How do you feel that the industry could better prepare and service the needs of younger chefs entering catering?

By paying people for the hours they work and stop exploiting them for their labour.  Younger chefs, and all chefs for that matter, should be encouraged to eat in their own restaurants as well as others.

As with all our legends, we’d like to thank Mr Rowley Leigh for him taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer the ‘5Questions ~ The Legends’. Le Cafe Anglais can be found here:

Le Cafe Anglais,

8 Porchester gardens,

London W2 4DB

020 7221 1415


The Cafe Anglais website

And The Cafe Anglais Blog

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