Daniel’s cooking is bold, simple and incredibly visual. Most recently Head Chef at St Leonards in Shoreditch, Daniel has a passion of cooking on fire and his cooking can be described as resourceful – he creatively works with produce to ensure there is as little waste as possible.
“For me, it is always about getting the most from the produce – which is why I work seasonally – and cooking with fire and exploring techniques around ferments, preserves and vinegars I am able to be creative.”
Originally from Essex, Daniel started in kitchens from an early age; his mother was a pastry chef and cook, and through school he used to help her in the kitchens for extra cash. After high school Daniel spent time travelling through Greece for a few years, when he returned to the UK it was a decision between studying photography or cooking, and cooking won; Daniel trained at Barking and Dagenham College
His first job as a chef was at The Brewery on Chiswell Street, and he worked at various places in the City as well as staging at various restaurants in London before he lead the team at, The Anchor in Hullbridge, which gave him a space to develop his own style of cooking.
Although Daniel trained as a chef his eye on aesthetics and passion for photography are a continued part of his life and work. His approach to food and presentation reflects this as he sees cooking as a creative process. Daniel has developed a space on Instagram express his visual interests, combing both his loves – photography and food. Through this medium he’s also built a connection and community with others.
“Through Instagram I have had fun developing my own style of platting – thinking about simplicity and attention to detail. It has been really nice to inspire and connect with young chefs and every day I am learning something new and taking inspiration from others – that is one to the positives from today’s social media.”
Daniel has collaborated with a number ceramics including the up-and-coming designers from Kinn Collective and Odd Standard, as well as Coasta Nova, Studio Matt and Staub.
Work + Life
One of the key factors to Daniel’s food is about balance, creating interesting textures, a sense of bold flavours and a freshness to ensure that there is a journey within the dishes. This carries over into Daniel’s life where he predominantly eats a plant-based diet and is an avid practitioner of yoga and meditation.
“As a chef I eat and taste everything and enjoy a huge range of foods but I have found in my downtime that my mind and body work better focusing on a plant-based diet. It’s great to be able to have the balance between the two.”
Daniel is also a passionate advocate for mental health, and has spoken out about various pressures in his life and work and how he has learnt to manage depression. It was the diagnosis of his young son, and then daughter, with autism that changed his approach to his own wellbeing.
“Both Macy and Freddy have autism, both are very different and have different needs, however both are very unique and absolutely amazing!” His family is one of his main inspirations.