Farnborough's Michelin star restaurant Chapter One reveals secrets of success
PUBLISHED: 11:37 06 November 2012
"Until I recently fought in a boxing match, I had never experienced anything that got my adrenaline rushing like a kitchen."
The pressure of being a chef can prove too much for some, though a select few such as Chapter One’s Michelin- starred executive chef Andrew McLeish thrive under the expectation.
The Locksbottom restaurant has prospered since he joined in 2000, having previously worked at The Ritz where he became its youngest ever sous chef.
With an emphasis on simple dishes cooked well, Andrew relies on the quality of his ingredients to create meals that have seen Chapter One’s reputation grow.
He said: “Creating a dish is led from the ingredients. I’m not the sort of chef who will make ingredients go together that really shouldn’t. I don’t think there should ever be any more than three flavours on a plate.
“This time of the year is great for game, so things like venison, partridge, pheasant – all those sort of things. Parsnips and mushrooms from the south go extremely well. It’s very simple.”
The father-of-three describes his restaurant in Farnborough Common as one of the most affordable Michelin-starred establishments in the country with a three-course midweek dinner costing £17.95.
“We use local ingredients and things in season, which is certainly no bad thing – that keep costs down,” said Andrew.
“I also shoot my own game, which keeps prices down too. I love taking ingredients from field to fork.”
Pushing himself above and beyond to provide the best level of dining within his resources means Andrew’s stamp is well and truly imprinted on the restaurant.
Just a year after his arrival, Chapter One achieved its first Michelin star and has maintained those standards, achieving four AA rosettes.
“It sounds arrogant but the restaurant is me,” says Andrew. “It’s what I’m about and what my beliefs are. I want people to experience how I would like to be dined.
“There’s a relaxed atmosphere because there are few things worse than sitting in a restaurant and feeling as if you haven’t got enough money to be there.”
The restaurant is constantly looking for ways to improve. Not content with its Michelin star, the staff know there is no such thing as a finished product.
“There is pressure to keep the star – there could be a Michelin inspector in tonight or tomorrow, you just don’t know,” says Andrew.
“I’m not sure what we would do to aim for a second star, but we’re very much about cooking for customers and not for awards.”
To book a table at Chapter One, visit www.chaptersrestaurants.com or call 01689 854 848.