Dan Doherty turned Duck & Waffle into an instant success with his contemporary cooking style; now he’s sharing his secrets with a new recipe book available this October
Interview Helen Brown
Dan Doherty: the Man behind Duck & Waffle
Duck & Waffle is the sky-high phenomenon that took London by storm, not just for its spectacular food offering but for the jaw-dropping views that are served alongside. Now you can cook up a piece of the magic at home with the new recipe book from Chef Director Dan Doherty. Duck & Waffle: Recipes and Stories offers his modern take on European cuisine with an emphasis on local, sustainable produce. We caught up with Dan to discover his foodie favourites and what’s next for the rising star.
Did you always want to be a chef growing up?
From the age of about 14, yes. My older brother was a chef and I strangely envied his lifestyle, despite it being hugely unsociable.
Who taught you to cook?
I was fortunate enough to do a scholarship with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. So at the academy is was David Boland who taught us, and at my restaurant placement for four years it was Herbert Berger at 1 Lombard Street.
Tell us a bit about Duck & Waffle, where did the 24-hour concept come from?
Before we opened we all thought London was ready for something like this. Rather than be restricted by transport and licensing, we believed if you gave Londoners and London a chance to be a 24-hour city, it could become one.
What kind of recipes can we expect to find in the new book?
It’s a 24-hour cookbook, so it features food that reflects that ethos, that is either on the menu at the restaurant or has been previously. Kind of a ‘Greatest Hits’ album.
What was the process of writing the book like?
I loved it! I really like writing and the whole process of shooting it was so exciting.
You’re hosting a dinner party, what three recipes would you cook from the book to impress?
Tough one. I’d make some arancini to nibble on over drinks, then make the fish stew. For desserts, it has to be the PBJ macaroons.
Where do you like to shop for ingredients when cooking at home?
I prefer markets to shops, I like my veg dirty. Brockley is great, and if not I order a veg box from Riverford. For meat we have a local butcher in Ladywell which has some great quality meat.
Sprout did very well at Harvey Nichols, tell us a bit about it and when can we expect it to open permanently?
Thank you. I’d like Sprout to be a neighbourhood cafe, away from central London. I’m in the process of setting it all up so hopefully in the new year I can get it open permanently. We are looking for sites at the moment but it just has to be the right space.
Describe your cooking style in three words
Playful. Tasty. Nourishing.
Are there any cuisines you might like to explore in a future venture?
Sprout will have some subtle middle eastern vibes going on, so that’s the one I’d focus on first. Saying that, I’m so curious about food and am always up for looking at new styles.
Where do you like to eat in London?
Where to start! Last night I had an absolute smashing meal at Quality Chop House. I love Blacklock, Honey & Co and Bao too.
What’s your favourite dish from childhood?
Has to be a Sunday roast. I just love everything about it.
Where does your inspiration come from when drawing up new menus?
I travel a lot, and eat a lot! So I guess that’s the main source of inspiration. I love going to new places and getting stuck into the local food.
What’s been your career highlight so far?
I think I’d have to say the books. It’s very rewarding to document recipes and where your head is at that point of time.
- Duck & Waffle: Recipes and Stories by Dan Doherty is published by Mitchell Beazley, £18.99, octopusbooks.co.uk
Image credit: Anders Schønnemann