1 August 2014

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Grill the Chef: Lee Westcott


leewestcott.jpgSquare Meal talks to Lee Westcott ahead of the launch of his first London restaurant. The chef is fresh from working for Jason Atherton in Hong Kong and will head up Atherton-backed Typing Room in Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel when it launches at the end of next week.

How does it feel to be following in the footsteps of Nuno Mendes (now heading up Chiltern Firehouse), who launched Viajante in the hotel? 
Nuno achieved great things here at the Town Hall Hotel, putting it firmly on the culinary map. I believe that once the restaurant opens, people will see that our cooking style and the restaurant are very different.

You’ve worked with Tom Aikens, Gordon Ramsay and, obviously, Jason Atherton. What different things have you learned from each of them?
All the chefs I’ve worked for have influenced me in many different ways. You pick the chefs you want to work for, for different reasons and I’ve been very lucky to have worked with all these great individuals.

You’ve come fresh from working in Hong Kong. Has this experience influenced your cooking?
Hong Kong’s food scene is a bustling one to say the least. I tasted and experienced everything possible, from chicken feet and sea worms to snake soup. It is a great learning experience, constantly coming across ingredients you’ve never seen or heard of before.

What can we expect from the menu?
It’s all about seasonal British produce and simple and clean flavours, along with a few innovative dishes and unusual flavour combinations. My personal highlights are a mackerel, passion fruit and burnt cucumber starter and a dessert of green tea, yoghurt & sesame.

How involved has Jason been in developing the menu?
Jason has given me a great opportunity here, the menu and ideas have been mine throughout. It’s great to have his trust and support from him and his team.

Jason Atherton has Pollen Street Social, Little Social and Social Eating House. Will Typing Room be part of the Social brand?
We are going for something quite different with Typing Room. What works in central London sometimes doesn’t work in east London. You will be seeing a different style of the Social brand over here.

You’re also in charge of the bar menu for Peg + Patriot at the hotel. What should we expect there?
We have taken classic bar snacks and given them our own Typing Room twist, in particular using flavours from specific cocktails in order to pull the food and drinks together.

See our Typing Room listing here. 

Published 8 May 2014

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