Young National Chef of the Year 2018, Danny Young on his favourite summer ingredients

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th July 2018

Young National Chef of the Year 2018 winner, Danny Young on what ingredients are on the menu at Northcote this summer.

In his latest blog, Danny talks about the summer menu at Northcote, forgotten herbs and the importance of training in the kitchen.

It has been a fantastic summer so far, and as much as we love it, it’s been a bit of a struggle to maintain the health and well-being of our amazing kitchen garden. Now we’ve recently had a few days of rain, things are recovering and blooming again.

Since my last blog, Lisa’s summer menu is now live. As mentioned previously, we are using as much as possible from the garden, for example, the Yorkshire Dales Lamb dish with White Curry features sweet cicely (a bit of a forgotten herb) and summer pods grown onsite. Research has led us to using sweet cicely with the curry, as they use it in India as a flavour balancer for the heat of the spices.

https://www.thestaffcanteen.com/public/js/tinymce/plugins/moxiemanager/data/files/ISLE OF WHITE INFUSED TOMATOES Organic Lovage St James Sheep's Cheese (1).jpeg
Infused Isle of Wight Tomatoes,
Organic Lovage, St. James Sheep’s Cheese

I also mentioned we would be using some Isle of Wight tomatoes, and as usual, these are superb ingredients – when an ingredient is as good as this and we are clever about how to extract flavours and use delicate techniques, the tomatoes stand alone as the stars of the dish. We balanced the flavours in this dish with a local aged sheep’s cheese and caramelised onion and utilised the lovage we had growing in the garden.

Over the last year, supporting Lisa with the development of the menus has been my main focus, and we have adapted our philosophy slightly on creating menus to focus more on the individual ingredients, and as the phrase goes “less is more.” We don’t put anything on the plate which has no purpose.

We have a great relationship with our suppliers, and try to visit the local ones as much as possible and plan in visits to those further afield. I believe this is so important as they have the knowledge and the resources to do the research into the ingredients, so they’re incredibly useful when it comes to planning a menu or just a single dish.

Over the next couple of months, we will have 5 new chef apprentices starting in the Northcote kitchen, it doesn’t seem long since I was in that position myself and I’m looking forward to helping and guiding these young people to achieve and succeed. If they get the same support I’ve had in my early career, there should be nothing stopping them! Those of us in the industry are very aware of the shortage of available chefs which is why I think it’s so important for apprentices to be supported and nurtured; these will be our CDPs, Sous and Head chefs of the future and without developing these young people, the industry will suffer.

I’ve been keeping my eyes on this year’s YNCOTY competition and want to pass on my congratulations to the semi-finalists. Look forward to seeing you all at the final in October!


About Danny Young:

Danny Young
Danny Young

Danny is Young National Chef of the Year 2018 and won the competition at the Restaurant Show at Olympia London in October. Danny is currently sous chef at Northcote in Lancashire. His first experience in fine dining came after he left school when he secured a job working in a Michelin starred kitchen. Danny has come in second place in the Young National Chef of the Year competition for the last two years and was North West Young Chef of the Year in 2014.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th July 2018

Young National Chef of the Year 2018, Danny Young on his favourite summer ingredients