We have been joined this week by highly creative and passionate Head Chef at The Lamb at Angmering Dan Catford. You can follow what Dan gets up to on his blog that includes many scrumptious treats for your eyes and mouth. Keep a look out for him being featured over at Visionary Dining in the coming weeks. You can find him on Twitter
I always had a love for food. My earliest memory would be standing on a stool helping my nan peel roasted peppers for a party my family where having. My passion for food then grew and thought the most natural path for my career would be to become a chef.
My favourite part about the job, especially at The Lamb at Angmering, is being able to have a free reign of the kitchen. Being able to put dishes on that I like and that I can tweak and play with to get a great menu. I love the buzz of a Saturday night service when your full and that first check comes on , it’s like going into battle !
What do you consider to be your biggest achievement so far and what do you have in the pipeline?
My biggest achievement so far would be getting this head chef job so early into my career at the lamb ! I have a few things in the pipeline that I hope to achieve though one being getting a rosette for the lamb and second hoping to start up my own venture one day starting off with my pop up restaurants around Sussex and surrounding areas cooking modern British food in a relaxed atmosphere. I also have a photo and video shoot with visionary dining.com which I am very much looking forward too.
Which chefs inspired you growing up?
My biggest influence in my career would probably be my executive chef from bailiffs court hotel, Martin Hadden. Martin taught me everything and suppose could say made me the chef I am today. But other chefs that inspire me now are Tom Kerridge, Tom Aikens, Paul Ainsworth, Heston Blumenthal, Simon Rogan and Ernst Van Zyl
Where was your last dining out experience? How was it?
My last dining experience was at a local Tex Mex restaurant called limings which was not great at all to be honest ! Starters were good but mains where poor and not value for money
What’s your favourite local restaurant and favourite meal?
My favourite local restaurant for everyday meal would be a little Thai restaurant called Lemongrass who make a damn good massaman curry ! For a special occasion I love the pass at South Lodge Hotel. The food I had there last time I went was easily best meal I’ve had. Matt Gillan is a great chef and rightly deserves his star and four rosettes.
My favourite meal, although I spend my time cooking fine dining food with the best ingredients, would have to be chicken enchiladas, nachos and guacamole.
Who inspires you now and who would you really like to work with?
Everything inspires me from my wife to be, to my great sous chef Richard Cook, to seasonal produce, the great chefs I’ve already mentioned and the world around me. I’d really like to work with Tom Kerridge as he is an amazing chef, to have two Michelin stars for a pub is outstanding and would love to learn from someone that skilled, plus he looks like a good guy to work with.
Best piece of advice to someone wanting to be a chef?
Be passionate, listen to everything you hear in a kitchen whether it’s the head chef telling you, or a kitchen porter, you can learn from everyone. Be patient too, you do not leave college and instantly walk into a kitchen as a sous chef on good money. It’s a bloody hard job but if your passionate and dedicated it all pays off eventually !
Favourite thing to cook? Favourite thing to eat if someone else cooks and who would you want to cook it?
My favourite thing to cook is probably a really nice fresh piece of fish. Nothing better than crispy skin and flaky juicy flesh. My favourite thing to eat is either;- my fiancée Shelley’s spaghetti bolognaise or my mum’s roast dinner. It’s heard everywhere around the world but you can not beat your mums cooking
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