His penchant is for game, and, unsurprisingly, his favourite season is autumn. Andy McLeish is a keen huntsman and much of the game found on the menu has been shot by the chef himself, meaning diners can be sure that they are getting something ethically sourced from field to fork. His love for the season shines through in the variety of thoughtful game dishes on the menu (he is, after all, one for experimenting), with the colours on the plate reflecting the autumnal golds, deep greens and purples of the surrounding landscape. Think Roast loin of venison with butternut squash, girolles and roast Treviso, Poached and roasted pheasant with Savoy cabbage and roast parsnips and Roast wood pigeon with pithivier of leg, served with creamed curly kale and roast Jerusalem artichokes.
Provenance remains key, and he is an outspoken proponent of local produce (Kent is, after all, the garden of England). Kentish lamb, Nyetimber wine from West Sussex and even local mineral water from Kingsdown all appear regularly on his menus, and the chef often discusses the quality of Kentish produce in his own food writing, regularly contributing to InsideKent magazine and the Borough Market blog. Seafood is also sourced locally, often from Broadstairs, and Andy McLeish routinely takes trips out with the day boats to help catch fish for his menu. This process reminds the chef of the importance of sustainability, and he can guarantee to his customers that the seafood they are going to be eating comes from the finest possible source.
This hands on approach to ingredients is evident in much of the restaurant’s produce. As well as being an avid hunter Andy McLeish is a keen forager, gathering ceps mushrooms from the nearby forests and growing plums, apples and cobnuts in his own garden. After shooting the game himself Andy McLeish also does his own butchery, ensuring no parts of the animal go to waste. Such is his dedication and passion for sustainability that the chef routinely holds ‘field to fork’ masterclasses, where attendees can learn the basics of game butchery through a demonstration and workshop, followed by a three course meal. In the spirit of minimising wastage, Andy McLeish also explains the different cuts of meat a deer will yield and the best way of cooking them to encourage full use of the animal.
Andy McLeish oversaw the launch of Chapters, Chapter One's sister restaurant, in 2012. A thriving all day dining restaurant in Blackheath, Chapters serves high quality food (including fish smoked and cured in the kitchens at Chapter One) in a casual, stylish setting, with a varied and reasonably priced menu.
Andy McLeish’s commitment to his ethos is as strong as it is admirable. As well as being in the best interest of the environment - ensuring sustainable and ethical methods of farming, fishing and production - it is a promise to his customers, too. With the chef’s passionate involvement at every stage diners can be confident that - in every sense - their meal comes to them from the best possible place.
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