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Top 100: Brett Graham, the Ledbury, Harwood Arms

19 April 2018 by

Overall ranking: 72 (44 in 2012)

Chef ranking: 16 (10 in 2012)

Snapshot

Australian-born chef Brett Graham is a two-Michelin-starred chef at the Ledbury restaurant in Notting Hill, London. His food has classic French roots but takes influences from British and Japanese cuisine. He opened his second venture, the Harwood Arms pub in Fulham Broadway, London, to critical acclaim, and it has held a Michelin star since 2010.

What we think

Graham started as an apprentice cooking in fish restaurant Scratchleys on the Wharf in Newcastle, Australia, aged 15. Three years later he found his way to Sydney, where he worked under Liam Tomlin at the fine-dining eatery Banc restaurant. It was here that he truly learned his craft and how to behave in a professional kitchen. Being thrown in at the deep end served him well, as he realised he worked best under pressure and was prepared to put in the hard graft.

The Banc experience led Graham to move to the UK and London, where he secured a job at the Square under Philip Howard on the recommendation of a friend. In just a year and a half, he progressed from commis to junior sous chef.

During his time with Howard, he went on to win the Young Chef of the Year competition in 2002 and shortly after, Howard asked if he would like to run his own restaurant. After some thought and coming to terms with staying in the UK instead of returning to Australia, in 2005 he found the site that is now the Ledbury. Graham was initially advised against the location, which used to be the Duke of Cambridge pub, as it had no passing lunch trade and was in need of complete refurbishment. Within a year, the Ledbury had a Michelin star, with a second following in 2010.

Graham's style of food is one of complex flavours, merging French technique with British and Japanese ingredients. He is passionate about reducing food waste and encourages his team to use the whole animal and to use produce otherwise thrown away by farmers, such as white beetroot.

Awards have come thick and fast. In 2011, the Ledbury was voted the best restaurant in London by Zagat, Harden's and The Sunday Times.

Fuelled by the potential Graham saw in his sous chef, who wanted to branch out, he searched for a site and launched the Harwood Arms in 2008. The pub has gone on to be a critical success and won its own Michelin star in 2010.

Graham enjoys hunting deer to serve at the Ledbury. In 2017, he went into partnership to create a deer park in Oxfordshire that now supplies the Ledbury with venison.

Further information

Who's cooking dinner? 2018 line-up boasts 20 chefs and 15 Michelin stars >>

Harden's London Restaurant Award winners revealed >>

London community kitchen to be backed by 40 Michelin stars >>

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