Perched atop the Trinity Centre is the endlessly elegant Crafthouse. When you think of shopping in Leeds, you more than likely think of the Trinity centre. But, you might not always make the same connection when you think of fine dining. We think you should. A visit to the top floors takes you to Crafthouse and Angelica, the incredible venues that provide not only panoramic views of the city, but also food that will elevate your tastebuds to a new plane. Crafthouse is a fine dining staple for many, and it’s easy to see why. Its seasonal menus will keep even the fussiest of eaters satisfied for weeks on end. Then, just before you’ve sampled every dish, the menu changes again, and you have even more new tastes and ingredient combinations to explore. All of this means that the team is always busy, and sadly can’t sit down with each table to discuss the secret lives of the kitchen. But, that’s where we come in. To give you a ready insight into the hectic world of Crafthouse, we sat down with Lee Murdoch, the Executive Head Chef. Here’s what he had to say… Meet Lee – Crafthouse Q – Where are you originally from? A – I’m originally from South Ayrshire, which borders on Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland. Q – When did you first become interested in cooking? A – One of my first jobs was a cleaner in a kitchen back at home, I was 16 at the time and full of admiration for the guys in the kitchen. I enjoyed seeing the raw brutality of a flame and how it could be used to create something incredible. Q – Who was your biggest inspiration? A – As above – the team in the kitchen were so inspirational. Q – What changes have you seen, if any, in the way the restaurant world has changed? ie have peoples tastes changed, do people expect more nowadays etc..? A – People are much more interested in food nowadays. Food has been absorbed into our culture through endless cookery programmes on TV. TV made cooking sexy and desirable. We’ve seen a lot more interest in fine dining, people now are looking for experiences much more than material possessions, and fine dining gives this kind of theatre that people are looking for. With the explosion of social media, and Instagram particularly, people love to share what they’ve been up to. Q – What has been your biggest success to date? A – I joined Crafthouse and Angelica from the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi where I was Chef de Cuisine at the award-winning 55&5th The Grill restaurant. The restaurant won BBC Good Food’s Restaurant of the Year award during my time there. I established my career at the five-star Turnberry Resort Hotel. There, I won an Award of Excellence from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. After working in Michelin Star restaurants throughout Europe, I finally joined D&D Leeds in 2015 as Executive Chef for Crafthouse and Angelica. Q – What’s the must try dish on your menu? A – It’s got to be the Croque Madame Goose Liver. Served with brioche cheese toasties with relish peppers, butter-fried egg & bacon crumb. Q – What would be your tip for upcoming chefs? A – Learn the basics well, if you know how to use your tools properly, you can do incredible things. Throw in a dash of experimentation to always create something new. Q – What are the 3 main components to running a successful restaurant? The best ingredients, a great team and sumptuous surroundings. Q – Finally, If you could summarise, what do you believe good cooking is all about? A – Good cooking comes from passion, care, experimentation and love for what is being created.