The Londoner: Rowley Leigh leaves heat of Design kitchen

Why has Rowley Leigh stormed out of Parabola, the Design Museum’s restaurant, after only seven months in the job? Leigh only joined as head chef in September but his relationship with management is already fractured beyond repair: “I left because of a difference of opinion with the new management,” he told us. 

Leigh, one of London’s top chefs, founded Kensington Place, an award-winning restaurant, and ran it for 19 years. Since then he’s worked at Le Café Anglais and writes a monthly cookery column in the FT’s Magazine. 

Leigh was initially hired by Parabola as its resident chef in 2016 but last year he took over the reins permanently. At the time of his appointment he told Eater London: “I’m in charge of the thing. I’ve been working with them since last year, as a consultant and guest chef. 

“I told [owners Peter Prescott, Terence and Vicki Conran] that I thought instead of being an event venue, we should run it as a conventional restaurant with plenty of choice. And they said, ‘Well, if that’s the case, then you better do it!’” 

Leigh’s shock resignation follows turbulence at Prescott and Conran, the company which owns Parabola. In January this year Peter Prescott, Conran’s business partner, quit as a director and sold his shares to Conran. Then Terence’s son Ned replaced his father as chairman.  

A spokesman for the company said: “Certainly we weren’t surprised [that Leigh left]. There was a debate going on about the fact that it wasn’t mutually beneficial. The agreement that was in place was such that in that eventuality we could agree to part. He’s a good man and we wish him well.”

How to embarrass Boris Johnson

Tricky times for Johnson family harmony. Amelia Gentleman, the formidable Guardian journalist responsible for the Windrush deportation exposé, also happens to be Boris Johnson’s sister-in-law. How will the pro-Brexit, anti-immigration Foreign Secretary react? Happily, Amelia is eclipsed when it comes to family causing Boris discomfort. Her father is artist David Gentleman, whose bullet-hole blood splatters — created for the Stop the War Coalition in 2003 — featured on “Stop Bombing Syria” placards at the Westminster protest yesterday.

Struggle: Hugh Grant (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Hugh Grant is an analogue actor in a digital age. “There was something I needed to see on Netflix last night and I’m in a new house and I couldn’t get it to work,” he told Pilot magazine. “I asked the nanny to try. Even she couldn’t sort it out.” At 57, Grant is a bit beyond a nanny, we feel.

Amber Rudd took the Home Office to task for its handling of the Windrush immigration case yesterday and seemed to accuse her predecessor, Theresa May, Home Secretary 2010-16. Interesting timing for a new job to be listed yesterday: the Home Office seeks a press officer to “devise imaginative media plans” and “punchy statements”. 

Johnny Flynn admits his Netflix role passed over  a beast of a title

Fantastic: Jessie Buckley, Michael PEarce, and Johnny Flynn (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Johnny Flynn and Jessie Buckley are fantastic in their new film Beast — but where to find them? The Ham Yard Hotel in Soho.

Flynn and Buckley were at an advance screening of the Michael Pearce film. It’s a rare film role for Buckley, who starred in BBC’s Peaky Blinders and War and Peace. Flynn plays an is-he-or-isn’t-he psychopath whom Buckley takes a shine to, but because of a plot full of twists and spills they can’t give anything away.

One thing that Flynn is happy  to talk about is his role in Netflix  drama Lovesick, originally given the wincing title Scrotal Recall in the  UK (quickly amended by the Americans). 

“I think I was the only one who was weirdly attached to the name,” Flynn said after American censors almost passed out. “I like really bad puns — proper, red-top, nasty puns. I find them funny. But it did make it easier to tell the headmistress of my son’s nursery what I was doing.”

The Arts Club hosted its raucous Arts Quiz last night, in aid of Ikon and sponsored by Peter Pilotto.

Artists Mark Wallinger and Jeremy Deller leant their expertise as Sotheby’s and Christie’s seethed at each other across the room, and a sole representative of Phillips Gallery was granted access after the team was banned three years ago “for bad behaviour”. They all agreed on one thing, though: when a question asked for the identity of the painter of Salvator Mundi, the blockbusting Da Vinci, the whole room joined in an eyeroll and shouts of “Attributed!”

Controversial: Karl Lagerfeld (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Chanel’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld has rushed to the defence of Karl Templer, Interview magazine’s creative director, who has been accused of harassment:

“A girl complained that he tried to pull her pants down and he is instantly excommunicated from a profession that up until then had venerated him. If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model! Join a nunnery, there’ll always be a place for you in the convent.” 

Lagerfeld says he is overwhelmed by #MeToo. “It’s simply too much. From now on, as a designer, you can’t do anything.”


A long day for John Bercow, who fulfilled his role as Speaker yesterday from 2.30pm until nearly midnight. MP Dr Julian Lewis asked if he’d considered reinstating a commode behind a curtain. Bercow replied: “I have not felt other than comfortable, privileged and exhilarated to have been in the chair for the past nine-and-a-quarter hours.”

Asked how he stays calm in the face of Syria strikes, one adviser to Boris Johnson says he recites the Serenity Prayer every morning. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Amen.

An EMAIL to Labour MPs from the Parliamentary Labour Party office: “A hacking attempt has been made. If you got an email from Becky Wright, do not open any attachments or click any links.” Wright is an innocent trade unionist but is this the first sign of Putin’s cyber hoofprints? 

Quote of the Day

Frowned upon: Shaggy (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage)

‘My feeling is that by now she’s probably seen enough

Former MP Gyles Brandreth thinks the Queen should be spared a performance from rapper Shaggy, pictured, at her 92nd birthday concert

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