Meet the semi-finalists: Daniel McGeorge

Tomorrow we will be watching ten National Chef of the Year semi-finalists battle it out for the first place in the final. Ahead of this cook-off we caught up with Daniel McGeorge from Rothay Manor so we could get to know him a little better.

Tell us how you first heard about the competition and what attracted you to enter?

I have known about the competition since I started cooking and what it can do for your career and the different opportunities it can present. It was always something that I wanted to enter but never really had the confidence to do so. However, this year I felt like I should at least give it a shot and was amazed to hear that I made it through to the semi-finals.

Where were you when you first discovered you had made it into the National Chef of the Year semi-finals?

I was in work actually working on some new dishes for the menu here at Rothay Manor and I'd be lying if I said I wasn’t checking on updates for who made it through to the semi-finals. To see my name announced was a shock and I had to double check that I didn’t mis-read the press release.

How did you celebrate your achievement?

There was not much time for celebration really as we had a busy week ahead so into service it was. Oh, but there may have been a cheeky beer involved at the end as I promised the kitchen team a beer if I got through - I was that confident I wouldn’t.

How are you preparing for the next stage of the competition?

I’ve been doing a lot of mock-runs of the competition to get my timings perfect as a few elements put me up against the clock. I feel like I’ve got there and am trying to get as much feedback as possible from everyone at the hotel. So, it’s been hectic!

Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career so far?

I'd have to say there's been a few but the person that has really pushed me over the last couple of years has to be my friend and former head chef, Ben Mounsey. He gave me a lot of believe in myself and although he can pile on the pressure sometimes it has really helped me grow as a chef. He would probably say its “Character Building”.

Which part of the menu are you most looking forward to serving up and what was your inspiration for this dish?

I’m looking forward to putting the whole menu up and I wouldn’t single out any dish as being stronger than the other however the dessert is interesting as it combines two classics into one modern interpretation. This is a floating island crossed with a peach melba and the flavours from this combination work so well.

How will you feel if your name is called out as a finalist?

If my name was called out I would be in utter disbelief as the calibre of chefs, in not only my heat but the competition, is outstanding. After this I would be ecstatic and realise this would only be the beginning of the hard work to come.

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