1 Michelin Star Chefs: Laurie Gear, chef owner, Artichoke

The  Staff Canteen

Laurie Gear is the chef and co-owner of Artichoke in Amersham. 

The chef and his wife Jacqueline opening the restaurant in 2002, with Laurie overseeing the kitchen and Jacqueline managing the front of house.

Ben Jenkins is currently the head chef at the restaurant. 

Artichoke

Artichoke

9 Market Square, Amersham HP7 0DF

Telephone: 01494726611

Website: http://www.artichokerestaurant.co.uk

Reservations: OpenTable

Opening hours:

Lunch - Tuesday to Saturday    12.00 - 15.00 (last orders at 13.30)


Dinner - Tuesday to Thursday   18.15 - 23.00 (last orders at 20.45)


Dinner - Friday and Saturday     18.00 - 23.30 (last orders at 21.15)

Closed Sunday and Monday

No children under 8 at dinner

Career to date

Born and raised in Lyme Regis, West Dorset, Laurie was destined for a career in hospitality: his father was a baker and his mother was a school cook, and as he grew older, his parents took on roles at the local golf club, so he was immersed in the world of hospitality from a young age. 

He completed a course in catering, during which he worked with passionate seafood chef Leo Featherstone at The Mariner's Hotel. Then, he took on a role at The Combe Hotel, owned by ex-chef Terry Boswall, where he met his wife Jacqueline - Jackie. 

Together the pair worked at the Ballroom Restaurant for Pinewood film studios, with Laurie Gear assuming the position of head chef while they mulled over plans to open their own restaurant. In their spare time, Jackie worked at The Fat Duck while Laurie continued to learn his trade staging at various establishments such as Clarke's in Notting Hill, Le Petit Blanc in Oxford (where Jacqueline also worked part-time as a hostess) and at The Fat Duck. 

The Artichoke launched in 2002 and got off to a great start, attracting widespread praise and acclaim, including two AA Rosettes and recognition from Michelin, Harden's and Restaurant Magazine. 

In 2008, it was forced to close due to a fire in a neighbouring property, only to reopen the following year.

What the guides say

Michelin:

Michelin star

AA: 

three rosette logo 2

Harden's: 

Harden's 3

In the interim, Laurie went to stage at Noma, returning to Artichoke inspired by chef Rene Redzepi and his team's innovative Scandinavian approach. 

Artichoke

Ranked 48th in the Good Food Guide 2020, Artichoke specialises in modern British food, showcasing the best local produce executed to a high degree of proficiency. 

Set in a 16th century red-brick house, the 16-seater restaurant's traditional wooden interior is complemented by a modern interior decor. After the fire, the couple took over the adjacent building, extending the restaurant into a large main room with a semi-open kitchen. 

Guests are given a choice between a tasting menu, regular prix-fixe and a set lunch menu, all with vegetarian options.

Expect dishes such as al dente risotto with parsley and Lancashire bomb, triple-cooked chips seasoned with powdered capers and vinegar in mussel and cider sauce, hop-smoked sea trout tartare with apple, pickled mooli and beetroot sorbet, Cambridge burnt cream with poached rhubarb, blood orange and aerated white chocolate. 

Chiltern Black Ale bread with lamb-fat butter is the popular precursor to all meals. 

Upon visiting the restaurant in 2011, Guardian food critic John Lanchester called Artichoke "a neighbourhood restaurant in a low-key commuter-belt town, a place where Terry and June would have felt at ease, but one that's on top of contemporary trends and executing them with command, precision and a degree of relaxedness. The place is still on fire, but now it's in the happy, metaphorical way."

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th October 2019

1 Michelin Star Chefs: Laurie Gear, chef owner, Artichoke