Michael O’Hare

Michael O’Hare – New Candidates 2023

Michael O’Hare

The Man Behind the Curtain

Originally from Middlesbrough, Michael was raised in Redcar, North Yorkshire. He studied classical and modern ballet between the ages of 11 and 18, then embarked on a degree in aeronautical engineering at Kingston University in London before a change of heart struck, and he eventually decided to pursue a career as a chef.

His contemporary and innovative food first caught the British public’s attention when he was at The Blind Swine in York. He particularly credits chef Kenny Atkinson for recommending him to the production team on the BBC’s Great British Menu.

The chef then took a break from cooking to do a snowboarding season in the alps, and, upon his return in 2014, after attempting to secure a site in York, he found a location in Leeds that would become The Man Behind the Curtain. 

Michael O’Hare burst onto The North’s culinary scene in 2014 with The Man Behind The Curtain, a self-consciously trendy Leeds restaurant that takes its name from a Wizard of Oz quote and serves up artful plates of food with Spanish and Asian influences.

As restaurant names go, The Man Behind The Curtain is one of the most avant-garde. Perhaps we shouldn’t expect anything less from chef Michael O’Hare though, who has built his career on playing with the expectations and perceptions of diners who walk through the door.

Despite the restaurant’s name inspired by the classic film, you won’t find any corny tributes to the yellow brick road here. Instead, the dining room is a stylishly appointed space that is flooded with natural light thanks to large windows. Exposed wooden beams and concrete flooring add to the industrial-chic vibe, while graffiti splashed across the walls adds a much-welcomed burst of colour.

“The Man Behind The Curtain is more than a restaurant for me. It is where I am able to express myself with flavour and aesthetics. The cuisine is my couture, bold in flavour with inspiration from around the world. Brutalist in design, yet fun.”

Instagram: @ohare.michael @bymichaelohare
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themanbehindthecurtainleeds
Restaurant web site: https://themanbehindthecurtain.co.uk/
Restaurant address: 68-78 Vicar Ln Leeds, LS1 7JH England

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