6 May 1935 |
Brewarrina, New South Wales, Australia
|Occupation||Restaurant critic, advertising professional and arts festival director|
|Spouse(s)||Anne Schofield (divorced)|
Leo Schofield AM (born 6 May 1935) is an Australian restaurant critic, contributing a weekly column in The Mercury. Schofield has served a long career as an advertising professional, journalist, creative arts festival director, and trustee of arts and cultural organisations.
Schofield was born in Brewarrina, New South Wales, the son of a football (which football code is unclear, but it is likely to have been rugby league based on the location and era) loving publican. He was educated at Christian Brothers' High School, Lewisham and commenced his first job in 1949, as a 14-year-old, in the haberdashery department of Grace Brothers, an Australian store chain.
He entered journalism in the 1970s at the Sunday Australian, which folded into the Sunday Telegraph. He also contributed to numerous other publications including The Australian, Vogue, The Bulletin and The Sydney Morning Herald for two decades. In 1984, Schofield established The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide with co-editors David Dale and Jenna Price; and remained editor until the ninth edition was published in 1993.
He was the artistic director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival between 1993 until 1996. In 1997 he assumed responsibility as artistic director of the Sydney Festival (between 1998 and 2001), and conjointly held the position as artistic director of the 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2000 Summer Paralympics arts festivals.
He has variously served on the boards of Sydney Symphony Orchestra (inaugural Chairman from 1996 to 2000), the Centennial Park Trust, the National Trust of Australia (NSW), and as a Trustee of the Powerhouse Museum, the Dame Joan Hammond Foundation, Melbourne's Old Treasury Building, and the Sydney Opera House Trust.
When working on one of his productions at Sydney University as the director of a theatre company he met Anne, whom he married in 1962. In 1963 daughter Nell was born and they returned to Australia. In 1965 the twins Emma and Tess were born. Schofield and his wife broke up after 19 years. Schofield came out in 2015, and stated "many gay men would envy me for the fact that I've been able to have children."
In 1989 Schofield and John Fairfax and Sons Limited were parties to the Blue Angel defamation case. In a review of the meal published in The Sydney Morning Herald in 1984, Schofield compared a lobster dish as "...close to culinary crime". He wrote it had been "...cooked until every drop of juice and joy in the thing had been successfully eliminated... leaving a charred husk of a shell containing meat that might have been albino walrus". A damages award of A$100,000 plus interest was made against Schofield and Fairfax when they were found thet they had defamed the Blue Angel restaurant.
In 2015, after Schofield failed to secure increased funding for the Hobart Baroque Festival, he attacked Tasmania in the Sydney press; calling the island state's leaders and residents who had previously funded his music festival "dregs, bogans and third-generation morons".  Schofield's comments were widely refuted and condemned by leading Tasmanian and Australian arts figures, as well as political leaders. Schofield's views were derided by celebrated Tasmanian author, Bradley Trevor Greive, as “churlish, gauche and unforgivably small”, with numerous arts commentators describing Schofield's remarks as highly offensive, petulant, unbecoming and divisive. Tasmanian Premier, Will Hodgman released an official statement promoting Tasmania's commitment to the arts and his government's "support [of] exceptional events and festivals". Hodgman also stated that "Leo Schofield's comments [were] derogatory, ignorant and right out of step with what the vast majority of people are saying about Tasmania."  Schofield later claimed to be taking anti-depressants and drinking excessively.  In an article published on the Tasmanian Times website, Schofield said he was deeply sorry for his "ill-considered, intemperate and inelegant remarks" for which he apologized unreservedly.  Schofield later relocated the Baroque Festival to Brisbane where, according to Luke Martin from the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania, who accused Schofield of "blatant mistruths", the Queensland based festival program received exactly the same amount of funding that prompted Schofield's embarrassing public outburst against Tasmania. The 2016 Brisbane Baroque festival opening night was picketed by an informal Tasmanian pro-arts performance group, known as "Leo's Bogan Brigade", who used the media attention focussed on Schofield's negative remarks as a positive opportunity to promote young and emerging Tasmanian artists.      
- 2000 appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the arts, particularly the Sydney Festival and the Melbourne Festival, as a fundraiser and administrator, and to environmental and heritage conservation
- 2001 awarded the Australian Government Centenary Medal for outstanding service to the Australian arts, culture, heritage and food industry
- 2002 made a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government
- Talking Heads – Leo Schofield Retrieved 24 May 2013
- Retrieved 4 April 2015
- Schofield, Leo (6 September 2010). Leo Schofield (transcript). Interview with Thompson, Peter. Australia. Talking Heads. ABC1. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- School Name Database
- "Leo Schofield". Dinkum Aussies. 1999. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- "Leo Schofield" (PDF). Celebrity Speakers. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- Jones, Grant (13 October 2010). "Iron Chef gets set to hit Aussie TV screens". Herald Sun. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- Mark Dapin: Baroque and bogans battle over the menu at lunch with Leo Schofield, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2015.
- Kalina, Paul (20 January 2005). "The critics' critic". The Age (Australia). Retrieved 1 February 2009.
- "SCHOFIELD, Leo George: Member of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 12 June 2000. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- "SCHOFIELD, Leo George: Centenary Medal". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 15 February 2012.