The newest face at Fistral
Introducing Daniel Kerr, our new Head Chef taking the reins in the kitchen.
Getting to know our chef.
Daniel’s first cooking role started almost 16 years ago in Kenilworth, Warwickshire where his love of food started. A swift move onwards, Daniel set his sights on Michelin Star Tom Aiken's Kitchen where his role as a commis chef release the passion for producing creative, seasonal dishes. Other roles throughout the chef’s career include working for The Lugger in Portloe, as a pastry chef for The Idle Rocks and at gastropub The Bear and Ragged Staff, where he achieved his first rosette.
With an ever-growing love for bringing locally produced food to the table, we welcome his ethos with open arms and in the latter of 2019, Daniel set his sights on producing a completely new flavour for Fistral. “Choosing quality meat, fish, dairy and vegetable products is key to my menu” Daniel says. “The more that we can shout about the quality of the food and where it has come from, the better our guests’ understanding of what they are choosing to eat when dining at Dune Restaurant is.”
We pulled Daniel away from the kitchen for a moment as we wanted to get to know him a little better and unearth the roots of the newest Chef on the block…
- Cliché, but what is your favourite dish on the current Dune Restaurant menu and why? Pork belly starter. Inspiration was taken from a holiday in Greece when I had a stunning chargrilled pork belly that had clearly been slow cooked for a long time as the texture and taste were amazing. It came with sweet potato, coriander and a sharp dressing. We cure the belly with spices and salt for 12 hours, then we slow cook it for 18 hours, then it is pressed overnight. Finally, pan fried to give that lovely texture. Served with sweet squash puree, raw plums for acidity and salty crackling. Such a satisfying eat.
- What’s the best dish you’ve ever eaten? Crab tortellini (which was just one giant tortellini), served with the best shellfish bisque I have ever eaten, infused with basil. I had it with a Picpoul de Pinet while in the south of France.
- One piece of advice that you can give an apprentice chef in their first kitchen role? To embrace kitchen life, eat out on your days off, read up about new recipes, try them at home because food should excite you, if it doesn’t it’s tough to commit to this job… and most importantly, make mistakes, just make new ones every day, that’s how you learn!
- Why is local produce so important to you when creating a new dish/menu? I feel that food that grows together goes together (as cheesy as that sounds) and food that is in season now always has much more flavour than something that has been shipped for miles or forced to grow. I love to be produce led, if you start with a great product, you’re able do less to it to get the best flavour. I think chefs sometimes try too hard to compensate for sub-standard produce. This can be harder in the hunger gap like we are in now, but when it gets to Spring and Summer, there is no excuse to let the produce do the talking.
- How does sustainability play a part in your kitchen? I think we should all buy food with sustainability in mind, if not we are being very selfish. I keep in good contact with fish suppliers to ensure we’re always ordering in line with this. I try to order from day boats for the market fish dish, which is entirely driven by what the fish monger has to sell me.
- Who inspires you? I find inspiration from lots of people both industry and non. I admire chefs in the world who aim for perfection such as my old head chef Tom Aikens or Daniel Humm (the head chef of the once best restaurant in EMP). I think you can chip away each day, bit by bit to try and achieve a realistic goal.
- A birdie told us you’re a lover of cheese… what’s your top 3 favourite chesses, in order? Tunworth J Per las J Godminster Cheddar J and I adore French so : Pont Leveque, Fourme D’dambert , Reblochon de savoie J
- Let us in on your favourite tipple: I love single malt, Balvinie 15yr is my treat to myself. Chateux Mussar is my favourite wine and Moretti is my favourite beer for after work.
- What made you want to become a chef? I sort of fell into the career! I used to play football and go to a sports college studying sports and exercise science (while working part-time in a pub) but managed to attain a few sporting injuries. I decided to apply for some great kitchen jobs in London and was lucky enough to get a commis job at Tom Aiken's Kitchen in Chelsea. Ever since then I haven't looked back.
- Your number 1 dinner guest? Daniel Humm, simply because I have so many questions to ask him.