Meet the National Chef of the Year 2017 finalists: Danny Parker

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th September 2016

National Chef of the Year 2017 finalist Danny Parker, is head chef at Michelin-starred House of Tides in Newcastle.

Originally from Stockton, Danny made it to the final five of MasterChef: The Professionals in 2014 and currently works alongside Great British Menu winner and owner of House of Tides, Kenny Atkinson. Danny stumbled into cooking after becoming a kitchen porter at the age of 14 and hasn’t looked back.

Are you nervous about cooking live at the restaurant show?

I think it would be bizarre to say I’m not nervous. There is a huge amount of massively respected chefs and industry professionals on the judging panel, people that I have looked up to for a long time now! That being said, all we are doing is cooking, and all ten of us in the final cook every day for paying customers, so I guess it’s just a case transferring that into the competition!

How do you let your personality come out in your cooking?

I think when you’re cooking your own food it’s easy for your personality to come across, for me I’m all about very clean presentation, and clean, traditional flavours. I don’t like every single plate to look exactly the same, no two carrots look the same, so why should every single dish! The importance for me is that the dish is balanced well.

Who have been your greatest influences?

My biggest personal influences have definitely been my parents, instilling in me a huge amount of respect for others and also teaching me a great work ethic, you know being punctual and things like that. From a cookery point of view, Alan O’kane was pivotal in my progression as a chef, introducing me to ‘fine dining’ and also teaching me a lot over the time I worked with him.

Also working alongside Kenny has been amazing, and being able to take knowledge from him, not only in a food, menu design and produce, but also a business sense. You can’t buy that sort of learning, it’s literally on the job day by day, you see how things happen, and how things are dealt with and you take it on board!

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

I think like anyone in this industry, I want to be successful, I would love nothing more than to own my own restaurant, cooking fantastic food and being busy, pleasing guests.

What would winning mean to you?

Winning NCOTY would be incredible, the whole reason I entered was to win, I want to have earned the privilege to be able to put that on my C.V. and be proud of it! Simple as that!

On Tuesday, October 4 a new National Chef of the Year will be crowned. We take a closer look at this year's finalists hoping to produce winning dishes at the final at The Restaurant Show, which will impress the judging panel. 


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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 30th September 2016

Meet the National Chef of the Year 2017 finalists: Danny Parker