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A late starter behind the stove – he had been working front of house when, aged 25, he realised his heart lay in the kitchen – Bruce Poole has created, in Chez Bruce, the blueprint for the perfect neighbourhood restaurant. After honing his skills under Philip Howard and Simon Hopkinson, Poole set up Chez Bruce on the former site of Harvey’s in Wandsworth in 1995 alongside business partner Nigel Platts-Martin. The restaurant gained a Michelin star in 1999 for its gutsy French cooking, the same year in which Poole helped set up Glasshouse in Kew, following this expansion two years later with La Trompette in Chiswick, both alongside Platts-Martin. Classically based in his cooking, Poole’s earthy dishes have more in common with revered food writers like Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson and Richard Olney rather than any fashionable culinary trends.