2 Michelin Star Chef Daniel Clifford - Midsummer House

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th September 2017

Daniel Clifford is chef patron of two Michelin-starred Midsummer House in Cambridge.

The 42-year-old from Canterbury took over in 1998 and earned the restaurant’s first Michelin star in 2002 with a second following in 2005. In 2016 he opened his second venture The Flitch of Bacon, in Little Dunmow, Essex.

Midsummer House

Midsummer House

Midsummer Common, Cambridge CB4 1HA

Website: www.midsummerhouse.co.uk
Twitter: @MidsummerHouse
Facebook: Midsummer House Restaurant

Telephone:  01223369299
Email: [email protected]

Opening Times:

Lunch: Wednesday – Saturday 12pm – 1:30pm
Dinner: Tuesday – Thursday 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Dinner: Friday and Saturday 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Closed Sundays, Mondays and Tuesday lunch.

Daniel Clifford Instagram: @midsummerchef
Daniel Clifford Twitter: @Midsummerchef

Daniel’s Successes

Daniel Clifford became a household name on BBC's Great British Menu, where he won best main dish in 2012 and best dessert in 2013. He wowed judges and viewers with an inventive approach and down-to-earth attitude. Of course, he's been known amongst his peers and the industry for many years already, for a fresh approach to food preparation and ingredients.

Daniel Clifford
Daniel Clifford

No top chef can get where they are without an obligatory 'apprenticeship' and Daniel has been in the kitchen with many established names in UK and France's restaurant scene, since starting out over 20 years ago. He began as commis chef at the Howfield Manor Hotel in his home-town of Canterbury and has had an impressive career trajectory since then. He began his promising career working for some of the biggest names in the industry including Simon Gueller at Rascasse and Marco Pierre White at The Box Tree; Daniel also takes inspiration from a spell with Jean Bardet.

Midsummer House

Daniel became his own boss when he took control of Midsummer House in 1998 and has built-up it's reputation for quality ever since; he took over what was a struggling restaurant at the time and it is now the only two Michelin-starred establishment in East Anglia.

Daniel credits his wife and family for giving him the strength and desire to achieve success.

But it is his business partner of twelve years whom he describes as essential support and 'almost like a father figure'. It is clear there have been tough moments since Daniel began turning Midsummer House into the success we see today.

Not least of these would be the two occasions when, sitting where it does by the river Cam, the restaurant has been flooded. In his interview with The Staff Canteen Daniel has described the pain of seeing his life's work damaged in this way and the great team effort to put everything back together and get up-and-running again.

Daniel also talked of his commitment to making Midsummer House a relaxing and easy-going restaurant to visit, in contrast to the 'special occasion', formal and almost fearsome reputation so many Michelin star restaurants' maintain.

What the guides say...

Michelin

AA Restaurant Guide

Good Food Guide

Harden's

midsummer house hardens

Patrons of his restaurant will recognise the willingness to engage with the public and try to explain how to make good food, witnessed from Daniel on the Great British Menu. He has spoken about needing to overcome a certain shyness to embrace the way modern restaurant business, especially outside of London, thrives and gains interest. But having clearly managed this, Daniel can now be found regularly meeting his guests and inviting them into the kitchen to see what happens behind the scenes.

Cooking style

Over the years the style of food has developed but the techniques and passion to provide guests with a unique experience have remained the same. Daniel’s menu and style of food focuses on the most seasonal produce and his dishes are developed to make the taste as natural as possible.

Top chefs who have passed through Midsummer kitchen

Midsummer House prides itself on staff development with some brilliant chefs passing through the kitchen during the years and progressing to gain their own Michelin stars including Mark Poynton, Tim Allen, Lawrence Yates and Matt Gillan. Today Daniel runs a kitchen team of around 10 chefs and 10 front of house staff along with office support.

Other Achievements

Shortly after picking up the second of his Michelin stars in 2005 the chef went on to open a gastropub 'The Headley' in Essex, with which he aims to build on the successful formula. Yet Daniel Clifford has continued to focus his attention on Midsummer House. Even after the recent TV success he says he prefers to spend time in the kitchen and for this reason he will not be prioritising his media career. He enjoys spending spare time with the family and even hopes that one of his five daughters will take over the family business when the time comes.

The Flitch of Bacon

For the last ten years, Daniel, who lives near the Flitch of Bacon, wished for somewhere local to eat. He would walk his dogs past the pub every day before the opportunity came to purchase it. With the help of builders, designers, decorators, and his team, Daniel was able to renovate and open the pub in just three months.

Opening Flitch and Bacon was not Daniel's only achievement that year, winning the AA Chefs' Chef 2015 was an unexpected moment for him too.

Awards:

AA Guide 5 Rosettes
Good Food Guide County Restaurant of the Year 2005
Cambridge Local Secrets Best Fine Dining Restaurant 2004-05
Harpers & Queens Best Outside London Restaurant Award 2005
Chef of the Year nomination 2005
Tatler Restaurant Awards Best Restaurant Outside London 2006
Best Overall Restaurant Local Secrets Restaurant Awards 2006
BBC Great British Menu winner 2012, 2013

Videos by Daniel Clifford:

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th September 2017

2 Michelin Star Chef Daniel Clifford - Midsummer House