The Wordrobe chats with the Chef Director of Duck & Waffle and culinary entrepreneur Dan Doherty to find about more about what keeps him inspired and why he can’t resist an Ox Cheek doughnut…
What inspired you to become a chef?
I was trying to earn some extra cash by washing up when I was 15 or so. As normally happens, one thing leads to another and you start helping out with food prep, and I just fell in love with food.
Tell us more about your culinary background…
I left home at 16 to do a specialised chefs scholarship with the academy of culinary arts. That meant moving to London and spending the next four years at Michelin starred 1 Lombard St, which was full of challenges but truly amazing.
From there I worked at their sister restaurant Noble Rot, and then on to Coutts Bank to work in corporate dining. I took my first Head Chef job at 23 at The Ambassador in Exmouth Market.
From there I went on to The Empress of India before opening The Old Brewery with Meantime Brewing Company.
Tell us more about the new restaurant, Duck & Waffle Local!
Duck & Waffle Local is the casual duck focused offshoot of the mothership in the Heron Tower. It’s chilled, no reservations and serves both duck dishes and lots of vegetables too. It’s very farm-to-table.
What has been the proudest moment in your career?
Probably releasing my first cookbook back in 2014. It was a really special feeling.
If you weren’t a chef, which career would you like to pursue?
Something to do with sport or anything in the creative industries like branding.
Do you have any tips for aspiring chefs?
Work for people you admire and people that cook the food you love, then keep your head down and learn as much as you can. And don’t rush to get promoted!
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Traditional. Playful. Tasty.
What provides you with inspiration for new recipes?
I think travelling is the main source of inspiration for me. I love seeing new countries and cultures and taking ideas back home with me.
Do you have any role models?
I think people I’ve worked for before are the best role models for me. Herbert Berger was a fantastic one and a great mentor too.
What food takes you back to childhood?
Easy – a Sunday roast or a full English.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu at Duck &Waffle?
Has to be the Ox Cheek doughnut!
What are your favourite summer ingredients?
I love all the peas and beans that you find in summer, such light and beautiful flavours. I love turning them into a garnish for freshly carved Prosciutto di San Daniele with some shaved Grana Padano, all lightly tossed together with a great olive oil. Perfect summer terrace eating!
Try Dan’s dishes for yourself at Duck & Waffle Local