Rowley Leigh


Richard Rowley Leigh (m. 1969) is a British chef, restauranteur, and journalist, and has been described by many as “one of the founding fathers of modern British cooking”. Born in Manchester in 1950, Leigh matriculated at Christ’s in 1969 where he read English.

After leaving Christ’s, Leigh dabbled in farming and fiction-writing, before (as he says) “falling into” cooking as the grill chef at Covent Garden's, Joe Allen's. After two years at Joe Allen’s, he went to work with the Roux brothers at their restaurant, Le Gavroche. He then progressed to head chef at their other restaurant, Le Poulbot, in 1984 and received The Times "Restaurant of the Year" award in 1986.

In 1987, he opened Kensington Place restaurant with Nick Smallwood and Simon Slater, and, in 1988, won the title of "Bargain Restaurant of the Year" by The Times.

An established cookery writer, Leigh is a three-time winner of the Glenfiddich award with The GuardianThe Sunday Telegraph, and the Financial Times. He is also the author of 'No Place Like Home'; a celebration of domestic dishes.

Leigh left Kensington Place in December 2006 after 19 years and opened Le Café Anglais in 2007, which he left in 2014. Since then, he has worked at Soho House Group as a consultant, and at Parabola restaurant as resident and head chef. In 2019 Leigh became the culinary director of Sam’s Riverside. He continues to write a weekly column on cookery for the Financial Times.