Interview by Calum Donoghue, 18 December 2014
Chef Lee Westcott
Having worked with some of the world’s leading chefs including Tom Aikens, Rene Redzepi and Gordon Ramsey, Lee Westcott knows his way around the kitchen. 2014 saw him venture solo in East London with the opening of Typing Room, former site of Nuno Mendes’ Viajante and housed within Town Hall Hotel. QH successfully slowed Lee down for a few minutes to have a catch up…
It’s been a busy year for you, what has been the hardest and best moment in 2014?
The hardest moment of 2014 would have to be the actual opening of the restaurant – the weeks leading up to it, and the weeks following it... Openings are always pretty stressful.
The best moment has to be the day we got Fay Maschler’s review in the Evening Standard. It was our first big review and it was incredibly encouraging for myself and the rest of the team.
In London, what is your favourite restaurant and why?
I would say the Ledbury - the cooking is always solid and bang-on. Always an exceptional meal!
What city would you recommend Quel Homme to visit and why?
Definitely Tokyo. Get yourself down to Tsukiji Fish Market, the freshest sushi you will ever eat!
You have worked around the world, have you found working in various cultures has adapted your style of cooking and has it influenced your menu at Typing Room?
Of course, working with different produce from different cities only broadens your mind to what’s out there and what’s possible, and gives you fresh ideas. I think this has definitely influenced the menu at Typing Room.
You have built a menu of British produce, what areas of the UK are best to find ingredients?
We buy most of our fish from the south coast of England, mainly Cornwall. Scotland has the most amazing shellfish though!
Hotels offer some of the best restaurants in the world, outside of the UK what hotels can you recommend?
While I was living in Hong Kong I experienced Amber, which is in The Landmark Mandarin Oriental. Fine dining French cuisine, which was some of the best food I’d eaten in my whole time spent there. If in Bangkok, Nahm in the Metropolitan By Como is a must, Fantastic Thai food!
Do you have a signature dish?
The yeasted cauliflower dish has been on the menu since the beginning, and still gets amazing feedback from guests, so I guess you could call that our signature dish!
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Town Hall Hotel
Patriot Square, London E2 9NF