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Lee Westcott

Lee Westcott

Lee had by then attracted the attention of Jason Atherton, who asked him to oversee his two new restaurants in Hong Kong – 22 Ships and Ham & Sherry. Working here as executive chef, Lee helped build the menus for these modern Spanish tapas eateries, both centred on theatrical, open kitchens.

Lee's food garnered rave reviews during this time, but his dream of owning his own restaurant was still at the forefront of his mind, and in 2014 he returned to the UK to open The Typing Room in East London's Bethnal Green.

Lee's seasonal, modern cooking showed off the eclectic influences he'd picked up over his career, and made an immediate impact in London. Like his mentor, Tom Aikens, Lee treats vegetables with care and reverence – his yeasted cauliflower, pickled raisins, crispy capers and mint fast became a signature dish, inspired by Noma’s treatment of undervalued vegetables. ‘If you are a skilled chef with imagination, you will want to elevate a vegetable to something delicious and beautiful, to do all sorts of things to it that will surprise people,’ he says.

Meat and fish were not neglected in his menus, however, and his crispy fish skin, salt cod brandade and oyster emulsion and lamb, smoked aubergine, yoghurt and onions were as beautiful as they were mouth-watering. His dessert of strawberry, pistachio and white chocolate was also a delight and the rye barley IPA sourdough with whipped Marmite butter served for the bread course was received with wild acclaim.

In June 2018, The Typing Room hosted its final service after four years of business, with Lee deciding to move onto a new chapter of his career. In 2019, Lee opened Pensons – a restaurant with rooms on the Netherwood Estate in leafy Worcestershire. Lee's technical cookery and attention to detail is still evident in dishes like salt aged beef, black garlic, cep and wood sorrel, and scallop, yeast, apple and monk’s beard – but with the incredible produce of the vast Netherwood Estate at his disposal, his food has surely never been as good as it is now.