WHEN celebrity chef John Lawson was diagnosed with brain cancer it shifted his whole perception of food.

Prior to this, Michelin-standard food that looked incredible and tasted sublime was all that mattered, and nutrition didn’t factor high on the list.

John has run Food Leigh-onSea, in Leigh Road, for five years, where he serves high-end, seasonal food where the focus is on amazing dishes that are good for the body.

“The restaurant embodies the journey I have been on. I used to only think about how the food looked and tasted, not how it affected the body,” said John.

“At the restaurant we still use the fine dining skills to create high-end food but we also make sure the food isnutritious as well. There’s nothing like it in this area or London.”

The celebrity chef garnered Michelin Stars, was in MasterChef Australia and The Circle and opened his own restaurant, No.8,in Melbourne.

His life was turn upside down when he had a seizure and a biopsy revealed he had cancer in his frontal lobe.

“After the cancer was removed, I asked the doctors how I could keep the cancer from coming back, but they couldn’t tell me. I realised it was down to me to give myself the best chance and so I started researching food and nutrition.”

John suffered with depression in Australia, then he moved back to Essex and within eight months had opened the restaurant.

His next initiative is to pass on what he has learned about nutrition combined with expert cooking skills with a series of workshops.

There is a team of four working front of house and four in the kitchen. The restaurant is open Friday lunch and evening, Saturday lunch and evening, Sunday lunch and Thursday for special events. They do not have menus but are happy to adapt dishes for dietary preferences. The tasting menu changes regularly to celebrate locally sourced and seasonal produce.

“No menu restaurants are the future of food,” said John. “We shouldn’t have an endless ‘wish list’ of food we want if it isn’t in season. I have a saying, ‘restriction equals creativity’, when chefs have only the seasonal produce that’s available to them, that’s when the dishes they serve get really interesting.”

Visit www.foodleighonsea. com and foodleighonsea on Instagram.