Meet Lee Keeler, LangeLee’s – Head chef and owner

Lee Keeler started working with food when he was 15 at his local bakery. Every Sunday morning he would go to work at 5am and bake bread for Monday’s deliveries.

Lee Keller, Head Chef at LangeLee's restaurant, Brighton

From there he worked at many big restaurant chains until 2007 when he moved to Brighton and met Michael.

After many years of working at these big chains Michael and Lee decided to open their own restaurant and give the personal experience that so many of these chains lack so in 2010 LangeLee’s was born.

LangeLee's Cafe and Restaurant, York Place, Brighton, South African and British

Which are your favourite foods or ingredients?

My 2 favourite foods/meals are breakfast and cakes. For me breakfast is very under rated but yet it is the most important meal of the day.

LangeLee's Cafe and Restaurant, York Place, Brighton, South African and British

What you have for breakfast fuels you for the day ahead and I believe that by eating the right breakfast with quality ingredients can motivate you for the rest of the day.

LangeLee's Cafe and Restaurant, York Place, Brighton, South African and British

Cakes/ baking on the other hand are my favourite food and ingredients to cook with as you can have fun with it and I find it rewarding as everyone loves a big slice of homemade cake so smiles all round.

LangeLee's Cafe and Restaurant, York Place, Brighton, South African and British

Who inspired you?

From an early age I remember going round to a family friends house where I used to practice my talents with their kids A La Carte kitchen. At secondary school I also did ok in all lessons but in Food Technology I always excelled.

I would say that my inspiration was my Mum.

LangeLee's Cafe and Restaurant, York Place, Brighton, South African and British

We had a home cooked dinner on the table every night, McDonalds was a treat as was eating out.

I would always help mum out and get involved, mostly just watching as I was always intrigued at how mixing loads of different ingredients could result in something so delicious.

Plus I was always on hand as to not miss the licking of the spoon afterwards!

Before you became a chef, did you think that’s what you would be doing?  LangeLee's Cafe and Restaurant, York Place, Brighton, South African and British

Growing up cooking always interested me, however in my early twenties I went through a career mid-life crisis as working in hospitality was all I had done and I think the day to day grind of working at big chains had eaten away at me. I left catering and tried office work, this lasted a week.

I realised I was not a 9-5 person and that I did enjoy the restaurant life but that I also needed to change the direction I was going in.

I wanted to cook food for the love of it and not just for the numbers – thankfully in 2007 I met someone that wanted the same and put my doubts behind me.

Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?

Firstly I would advise not to over complicate food.

LangeLee's Cafe and Restaurant, York Place, Brighton, South African and British

Most of the time less is more and I use to over complicate dishes by adding to many flavours and trying to hard but most of the time this can actually ruin a dish.

Secondly go with your instinct.

LangeLee's Cafe and Restaurant, York Place, Brighton, South African and British

If you think that something isn’t right or that something is cooked, follow through with this as normally your right. When baking I never use a timer as I like to see when my baking is done using my initiative and instinct.

Never be afraid to make mistakes as it is from these that we learn, and lastly never give up trying.

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