1. Did becoming a chef naturally foster an interest in wine or did that develop independently?
I'd say parallel or in tandem. Cooking gave me access but I think the love of wine started separately.
2. Did you have a formative wine tasting experience that suddenly piqued your interest?
Latour 62, drunk in about 1984.
3. Do you prefer to select a dish with a particular wine in mind or vice versa?
Not so prescriptive. Tend to choose the food first.
4. Can you tell us an interesting food and wine pairing from your travels?
Steak and his own red wine from a butcher in Calabria. All the supermarket wine was filthy. His pale fruity red (2€ a litre) was excellent with the steak after an hour in the fridge (the wine, not the steak).
5. Are there any types or styles of wines that you actively avoid?
Pinotage, Gewurztraminer. All high alcohol (except, perhaps, Chateauneuf).
6. Is there a restaurant wine list that you particularly admire and what would you be drawn to on it?
Noble Rot and Andrew Edmunds. Everything.
7. What wine takes pride of place in the Leigh cellars?
Can't remember. I think I must have drunk it.
8. Who or what has influenced your palate the most?
I was very lucky to drink, taste and lunch with a number of wine merchants when I was a restaurateur. Won't pick one but I learnt from them all.
9. Is there a wine region you have a particularly enjoy visiting?
Maybe Piedmont. The food is as good as the wine.
10. Is there a wine you dream of tasting that has thus far eluded you?
There's a few. La Chapelle 1961. Vogue's Amoureuses. Laville Haut Brion 61. That sort of thing.