Andy McLeish knew he wanted to become a chef right from the moment he cooked his family Christmas dinner while still in Primary school. Andy remembers being fascinated with food from a very early age, and spent happy hours lying on the floor watching “Take Six Cooks” on TV. Little did he know that he would later work for Nico Ladenis, one of the chefs featured in that inspiring show.
However, the route to becoming a Michelin starred chef was not straightforward. Back when Andy was at school it was virtually unheard of for boys to take on a domestic science qualification. His parents had to fight for him to be included on a course which included sewing modules as well as food technology.
Now Andy is well at home at his Kent restaurant, Chapter One, where he has been cooking classical, Modern European treats for more than ten years, earning a Michelin star and 4 AA Rosettes along the way.
Andy’s fondest food memories stem back to large one pot dishes. “Mum would make an awesome stew or casserole”, Andy recalls. “There’s nothing better than taking the lid off a good pot roast and everyone can dive in. Cooking at home was always magical. Right now I love the hearty and down to earth goodness of slow cooked dishes.”
One of the first dishes Andy remembers experimenting with was cubes of Cheddar cheese rolled into breadcrumbs and deep fried. “It wasn’t sophisticated”, laughs Andy, “But my Dad thought they were amazing”.