Danny Parker, head chef, House of Tides

The Staff Canteen

Danny Parker discusses his role as Head Chef at House of Tides and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Danny Parker

Danny Parker

Place of work: House of Tides

Role: Head Chef

Bio: Danny Parker is the Head Chef at House of Tides, a north-eastern restaurant, in Newcastle where Danny leads the team. The 25 year old from Stockton, came into the limelight when he became one of the finalists on MasterChef: The Professionals. Having worked in kitchens for 10 years he admits that he always imagined himself joining the army, following in the footsteps of his dad. But after working his way up, Danny left and made the move to various places where he was appointed Chef de partie and later sous Chef and finally Head Chef.

Follow him on Twitter: @dparker201 

Chef Skills

Danny Parker takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How long have you been in this role?

I have been in this role since house of tides opened, around February 2014 so almost 18 months now, and it been a fantastic time! 

Why did you decide to join House of Tides?

I decided to apply for House of Tides because, well I’d always wanted to work with Kenny when he was at Rockliffe Hall, however, there was never any jobs available that suited me at the time. 

When I heard Kenny was opening his own place, I thought I can’t let this one slip by so I applied. Kenny has done great things for the North East food scene, not only by gaining a Michelin star at Seaham, and many accolades at Rockliffe hall, but also with the likes of Great British Menu in the past; to have the opportunity to work with someone who is so talented and personally driven as Kenny is incredible, and it has paid off. 

Not only have I learned so much more about cooking with Kenny but I have learned more about myself, and more about running a kitchen effectively. It is also an added bonus that he is a fantastic boss! 

Why did you choose a restaurant in the North East?

Danny Parker food

I am from the northeast, and I have no intentions of moving, I love the people up here, I love the cities, and I love the array of things that are on offer up here. For me, I wanted to stay in the northeast when I was leaving  Wynyard Hall, and I wanted to work at the best place in the Northeast,  which in my opinion I am now, at House of Tides.

How did you get into cooking?

 I fell into cooking completely by accident. My dad was in the Coldstream  Guards for 25 years, so all the way through school, all I planned on was joining the army, preferably as a PT instructor. 

Then I started working at The Talbot, a countryside pub/restaurant in the village where I live. I started as a pot washer as most do, then due to people calling in sick, or leaving unexpectedly I was called upon to do more kitchen tasks but for some reason I loved it.

So that was at 14 before I knew it I was leaving school and going to Darlington Technology College to do catering. I worked full time and did college one day a week. It really was a complete fluke.

I think if you are meant to be a Chef, somehow you find you way into it, and whether or not it's by accident or on purpose, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How long did it take you to get to the level that you are at now?

I started pot washing at 14 and I’m now 25, so I’m not sure, I guess you could say 11 years? But without the upbringing I had, and the hard working parents I have, maybe I wouldn’t have turned out to have the motivation or the work ethic I do today, so it all depends on how you look at it!

What experience do you think someone would need in order to progress to the same level?

I think you have to be passionate and driven, it sounds so cliche, but it's so true. You have to have a connection to the food and a huge amount of respect for the food, not just the food but the time that has gone into growing the food, or the time that has gone into raising the animal that you are cooking. You have to be able to take a lot of stick, especially starting out, a thick skin is probably top of the list too!

Danny Parker food

Be a sponge and soak up as much as you can, I still do, I think everyone learns something every day. I am nowhere near the Chef I want to be, so working with Kenny and the fantastic team we have at House of Tides constantly motivates me. You absolutely cannot be scared of hard work or tedious, repetitive tasks, because that's what most of our day is made up with!

What are your ultimate top five tips for someone looking to start a career in the industry?

  • Ask Questions
  • Bite Your Lip
  • Read Books
  • Dine Out
  • Knock on the doors of the restaurant you want to work in!

What are you looking out for on a CV or in an interview if someone was applying to work with you?

When we interview someone at House of Tides, the first thing we are going to notice is how you present yourself, this is obviously not the be all and end all of it, but after all if you have a certain amount of respect to make yourself look good for the interview; chances are you are a clean and tidy person.

Second of all we would notice someone's personality - personality plays a huge part in being a Chef, in my opinion, you have to be able to interact with people well, and not be too much of an introvert. I’m not saying you can’t be a good member of staff if you are an introvert, but I think it helps to have a bit about yourself (not too cocky though).

When we read the C.V. it's good to see that someone is loyal to the places they work, they aren’t moving around every 4-6 months, they’re prepared to put a bit more of them on the line than just making us a stopping point to learn more for themselves.

Kenny and Danny

We always ask people why they want to work at House of Tides too, see if they’ve done their research, see if they really are interested in what we do and how we do it, or again whether it is a just a ‘job’ to pay the bills. 

If you could go back and do anything differently what would it be?

 I would have moved to London very early in my career. Although I love the northeast, I had a huge ambition to go to London at 17-18. I just didn’t  have the balls to do it.

 I am very happy with where I am and where I’m working but I think I will always wonder ‘What if I went to London at 17'.

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st September 2016

Danny Parker, head chef, House of Tides