Jake Leach

Why gastropubs?

I think I have always enjoyed simpler restaurant experiences, and usually go for places that offer a la carte rather than an overly long tasting menu, perhaps because I enjoy cooking simpler food myself.

What do you enjoy most about the industry?

I love that the industry is so fast-paced and ever-changing, and London is the place for it. I was drawn to this career because of how intense it is and how much I am still learning with each year that goes by.

Where’s your favourite place to eat?

Definitely Perilla, Ben Marks is a fantastic chef. I have been there so many times the last couple of years and every visit is outstanding.

Who’s your biggest influence?

Brett Graham, without a doubt. Having worked for Brett for 5 years at the Ledbury, he has by far been the biggest influence in my career and always pushes me to do my absolute best. His attention to detail and knowledge about game and sustainability is ever-growing.

What advice would you give to an aspiring chef?

Work hard in whatever it is you’re doing, find a restaurant where you admire the cooking style and learn as much as you can. These jobs don’t always start off as the highest paying but the experience you earn is worth gold for your future in terms of knowledge.

Best country for food?

My favourite food is Indian and I love eating at Dishoom which is a brilliant restaurant.

Typical day off?

I usually stay clear of the kitchen to give myself a little break and try to exercise. I usually play squash or run, and then get out to a good restaurant.

What’s something on your new menu you’re excited about?

We are big fans of seasonality and sustainability at the Harwood Arms, and with autumn coming in we are very excited to be putting on a chestnut soup with wild boar sausage roll and roasted chestnuts.

Sweet or savoury?

Sweet! I absolutely love desserts; I cannot get enough of our Aynhoe park honey tart!

What do you think the future holds for Gastropubs?

I think gastro pubs will continue to do very well in the future, they are a staple of the local neighbourhood and I think dearly missed during the lockdowns due to familiarity. With things open again, we are very busy every week, and a lot of those customers are our locals from the Fulham area who we welcome with open arms.

  • British food with focus on game and sustainability
  • Muntjac Pâté en Croûte
  • Head Chef at the Ledbury at 22