Rowley Leigh was born in Manchester in 1950. After university he tried his hand at farming and novel writing before falling into cooking ‘almost by accident’ in 1977.
After a couple of years at the Joe Allen restaurant, Leigh went to work with the Roux brothers at Le Gavroche in 1979 taking over their Le Poulbot restaurant as head chef in 1984 and winning The Times ‘Restaurant of the Year’ award in 1986.
He opened Kensington Place restaurant with Nick Smallwood and Simon Slater in 1987, and the following year published his first food column. He was won three Glenfiddich award for his work in the Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph and the Financial Times. His first book, No Place Like Home was published in 2001.
He left Kensington Place in order to open Le Café Anglais in 2007 and is now a consultant for the Soho House group, overseeing the opening of their Café Monico brasserie in April 2016.
Candida Crewe, daughter of food critic Quentin Crewe, reflects on the life of her father and how he came to pen what many chefs regard as one of the best books on French cuisine ever written, Great Chefs of France.