Andrew Clarke

Pilot Light mental health charity Metal guitarist chef BBQ

Andrew was a reluctant Chef in the early days of his career. He stepped in his first kitchen just to earn enough money to support his music, but his dreams of touring the world as a rock guitarist eventually made way to a new career direction in food. 

Andrew is always keen to challenge perceptions and although he has the look and reputation for cooking with meat and BBQ he became known for creating daintier dishes championing vegetables at Brunswick House, where he was Chef Director for several yearsAndrew also became Chef Director of London restaurant St Leonards, which opened in 2018 with great anticipation and support from the London restaurant critics. His menu had a fire and ice theme with an ice bar for raw fish, and open-hearth fire and spit for cooking meat and vegetables. In 2021, Andrew has taken on a new project which will see him heading up the restaurant at the new  Hertford House Hotel. The Hotel is a beautifully restored Georgian Townhouse and unique hideaway in the heart of Hertford with an exciting food offering from Andrew.

In 2019, Andrew was honoured to receive the Innovation Award at the Craft Guild of Chef’s Awards. He was particularly humbled as it was the only award of the night which was voted for at the event by other attending professional chefs that Andrew greatly admires. 

Andrew is also the founder of Pilot Light, an incredible campaign he created to support people in the catering industry struggling with mental health issues. Having has personally suffered and recovered from mental health issues over the years – he decided to post about his experiences on social media last year, he was stunned when, overnight, he became inundated with stories from young commis chefs to major heavy weight Michelin-starred chefs sharing their mental health stories. This opened a public discussion about the lack of support for young creative people in an industry that has dominated the press with its bad reputation for bullying, high pressured environments, late nights and staff abuse. Andrew vowed to do something about it. In collaboration with Pilot Light, Andrew and Doug Sanham hosted a weekly podcast called ‘Skull Session‘. Each week they spoke with a new guest from the hospitality industry about a range of topics, including mental health issues within the industry and conversations around how to seek help if you’re struggling.

Andrew may not seem like the obvious spokesperson to talk about mental health but his honesty and encouragement to find solutions to combat the stigma surrounding mental health problems, is having such a profound effect on the industry it has inspired Andrew to continue to spread his message outside of the catering world into other workplace environments. He particularly wants to encourage young men to feel comfortable to communicate their mental health concerns in a safe and supportive way. 

Andrew began his career as a chef working in a few local restaurants, but his real culinary journey started at The Swan in West Malling, Kent, where his eyes were opened to local produce, farming and foraging, hunting and butchery. There he rose through the ranks to become Head Chef before moving on to London.

Playing catch-up on the few wasted years before the Swan, he staged with Marco Pierre White, St John, Wild Honey, Arbutus and The Square, until he settled at the Anchor & Hope,all the while heading up bespoke catering events on the side. 

His next post was Head Chef of Salt Yard, the Italian-Spanish tapas restaurant in Goodge Street. Whilst working there, he set a Louisiana style food pop-up called Fleur de Lys. Although short lived, its reputation stood out to the team behind Rita’s Bar & Dining who approached him about helping them set up their first restaurant. Rita’s opened in Hackney in 2013 and received much praise from Giles Coren (The Times) Faye Maschler (Evening Standard) and John Walsh (Independent).

His arrival at Brunswick House at the beginning of 2016 brought the attention once again of Fay Maschler as well as A.A Gill and Jay Rayner – who loved the place so much, he asked to celebrate his 50th birthday there.

Andrew is a prominent face at Meatopia and curates Glandstonbury – London’s annual offal festival. He is also currently writing his first book but continues to play guitar in a metal band whenever the opportunity arises.

Social network and links

Andrew’s WEBSITE


Author, Blogger, Chef, Chef Patron, Cook, cookery demonstrations, cooking demos, Entrepreneur, Executive Development Chef, festival host, festivals, Restaurant, Restaurant Chefs & Caterers, restauranteur, Sharman, TV, TV Chefs & Cooks


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