As a young chef, Fleming was influenced by the French classicists – Nico Ladenis, Pierre Koffmann, Anton Mosimann etc. – and still believes it is of prime importance that a chef’s career is built on a solid technique and a regimented precision. Yet he is not inclined either to take food so seriously as to take the joy out of it completely.
“Eating should be all about pleasure,” he says, “and if you took the pleasure out of it there is no point doing it.”
He has worked in some of London’s most prestigious (and vertiginous) locations – including under Richard Neat at the Oxo Tower and for Marco Pierre White at Criterion – before taking the role of Executive Chef at Angler – a fish and seafood-themed restaurant on the top floor of Moorgate’s South Place Hotel.
After just a year in charge, Fleming won the restaurant its first Michelin star – a day of double celebration for the Cambridge-born chef as it was also his daughter’s 10th birthday.
A straight-talking and lively character, Fleming believes that it has “never been so exciting to be a chef” and displays his passion for his craft in dishes like Yellowfin tuna tartare with lime and chilli and Angler and lobster pie – both favourites on Angler menus.
While less experienced chefs can be prone to over-complicating and over-garnishing dishes, Fleming’s own style is remarkably restrained and uncluttered. Prime ingredients are showcased in all their natural glory: Fleming takes time to develop relationships with his suppliers, and it shows.