How Henry Dimbleby and Leon changed the face of fast food forever

Updated on 20 August 2014 | 0 Comments

Find out how and why....

Who is Henry Dimbleby?

Henry Dimbleby is the co-founder of Leon restaurants. He’s also our featured cook of the month here at

What's so special about him?

When Henry opened his first restaurant, on London’s Carnaby Street in July 2004, he and his partner John Vincent changed the face of fast food. Leon was founded on the twin principles that food can both taste good and do you good.

Six months after opening, Leon was named the Best New Restaurant in Great Britain at the Observer Food Monthly Awards (by a judging panel that included Rick Stein, Gordon Ramsay, Nigel Slater, Heston Blumenthal, Ruth Rogers and Jay Rayner).

There are now nine restaurants across Britain, with more due to open this year. 

Is the food really that good?

In addition to being named Best New Restaurant by The Observer, Leon has won many other awards including an RSPCA Good Business Award in 2008 and the Golden Palm Award for the most innovative, newly opened restaurant in Europe 2008. 

Is the food really that fast?

In total, the nine restaurants serve over 50,000 people a week, so it's got to be.

Isn’t fast food quite unethical?

Not at Leon. Henry is a board member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and a big proponent of ethically sourced food. 

Can I make it myself?

As well as being healthy and delicious, the food served at Leon tends to be simple, easy and quick to cook. For example:

-  Ultimate mushrooms on toast – takes 5 minutes to make and is a fantastic way to start the day.

-  Spanish chicken pot roast – a very versatile dish so a great way to use up leftover vegetables.

-  Saturday pancakes – find out how to make not only the pancakes, but the toppings too.

-  Ceviche - A simple, stunning and super-fresh dish to serve as a starter or lunch dish.

-  Upside-down pear and cardamon tart - You can use almost any fruit to make this: pears, apples, plums, nectarines, peaches and oranges all work well. 

-  Quick real custard -  Easy to make and fool-proof!

You can find more recipes in Leon’s cookbooks, Naturally Fast Food and Ingredients & Recipes.

For more information about Leon restaurants, visit

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