Like many of the best chefs his career started early. By fourteen he was working as a pot-washer at an Italian restaurant in Hampton-in-Arden, as well as helping out in the kitchen of The Arden Hotel encouraged by the manager of the hotel; his father.
After leaving school aged sixteen, Cheal decided to build on his already impressive set of skills by enrolling at Birmingham College of Food. It was here that he was spotted by Andreas Antona – the legendary Midlands chef/restaurateur with a keen eye for talent.
Antona, recognising Cheal’s budding talent, quickly offered the young chef a placement at his restaurant, Simpsons, in 2000, which is where he has worked ever since; rising to the position of Head Chef after thirteen years and winning the accolades of Junior Sous Chef of the Year (2004) and Chef of the Year (2010) in the process.
With Luke Tipping’s guiding hand (Tipping remained Executive Chef), Cheal kept up the great standards set by the kitchen at Simpsons. He oversaw a period in which Simpsons consolidated its Michelin star and was named in the Sunday Times list of Top 30 Restaurants (placed 28th). Aside from running a brigade of fourteen, Cheal also took responsibility for running the cookery school at Simpsons.
After sixteen years at Simpsons, Cheal has decided to embark on a new challenge, opeing a restaurant of his own with his father. Based in Henley-in-Arden, Cheal's of Henley will offer fine dining, yet in a relaxed and informal setting.