Daniel Clifford, Midsummer House and Flitch of Bacon

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd February 2016

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Daniel Clifford is chef patron of Midsummer House in Cambridge. The 45-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.

daniel clifford flitchBorn and raised in Kent, Daniel Clifford, 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’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. “Midsummer House is a restaurant but feels more like home.

I have a great team working with me but they feel more like family. I have never wanted the restaurant to be just one person’s vision, which is why I value the team’s feedback and input to keep improving.”

For the last eleven 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. “Tom Kerridge proved to everyone that it was possible to succeed at a certain level while also being able to stay relaxed," said Daniel, sat in his new pub after its first night of service.

"That’s what I have tried to do. We have put kennels in the garden so people can bring their dogs and have a beer in the afternoon. I think that’s the way dining is going, it just needs to be enjoyable now, in an environment where people can bring their kids, aunties and uncles, meaning that the menu has got to be accessible. I just want it to be fun for everyone.”daniel clifford 4

Opening Flitch and Bacon was not Daniel's only achievement last year.

Winning the AA Chefs' Chef 2015 was an unexpected moment for him, as for the past six or seven years has been voted to go to the event. “I didn’t expect it, I was told that I had to go, and I didn’t really understand why," he said.

"I just thought ‘no, I’m never going to win that’. I had been talking to Clare about ten minutes beforehand, we were saying it was shit that you would have to cook for everyone the next year if you won. I was pouring myself a glass of water, started taking a mouthful and then everyone stood up around me. Claude Bosi leant over and said ‘get up you fucking muppet, you’ve won!'”

Daniel’s passions outside of work revolve strongly around family life with his partner and five daughters. He is a keen carp angler which fills the rest of his time.

Midsummer House is a Victorian villa built beside the banks of the River Cam and on Midsummer Common in the historic University City of Cambridge. It has been home to many over the years including time as a private home, a breeding home for dogs, lodgings for the Public House next door and finally a restaurant. daniel clifford 3
In the 1980s, it was purchased and started its life as a small restaurant owned by Chris Kelly, who was the familiar face of the Food and Drink TV programme.
In 1998 the restaurant was taken over by Daniel with one dream, to turn it into Cambridgeshire’s best restaurant.
In 1999 the restaurant was flooded and then again in 2000 where the banks of the River Cam completely destroyed the wine cellar and the ground floor of the restaurant.
It was devastating but for Midsummer House this was a turning point. The restaurant was reopened after a lengthy refurbishment with two staff in the kitchen and two staff in the restaurant. The River Cam plays a large part in the restaurant’s history and today the stretch of river outside Midsummer House is used heavily for the College and University rowing clubs and is a hive of activity for guests to soak up as they enjoy drinks in our upstairs bar area.midsummer1
The iconic apple trees in the kitchen garden also have history with Daniel and the restaurant as they are featured on the signature dish, scallop, truffle and apple and have been on his menu from opening which is used all year round.
There are two varieties of trees, a Bramley but also an older heritage apple called Blenheim Orange which complement each other perfectly. Over Daniel’s time at Midsummer House the building has been developed and nurtured in many areas but at the same time he has tried to keep the style sympathetic to the buildings history.
The kitchen, bakery and wine cellar have all been extended and refurbished and a conservatory made up of three separate open plan sections is home to the main dining room and along with the original old house building homes our 15 tables.
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. daniel clifford 1
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. 
The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd February 2016

Daniel Clifford, Midsummer House and Flitch of Bacon

IN ASSOCIATION WITH