60 seconds with National Chef of the Year finalist, Danny Parker

Despite spending the last few weeks planning his menu and practising for the National Chef of the Year final, House of Tides Head Chef, Danny Parker still had time to chat to the NCOTY team about his thoughts and feelings ahead of the big day.

You can watch Danny in action at the competition theatre at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday 4th October. Register to attend the event to be in the live audience.

How did you feel when you saw the mystery basket list?

I think the first thing I noticed with the mystery basket was the abundance of amazing produce, I think having such a great list of things to choose from is fantastic. At the same time, it made the competition start to feel a little bit more real with the realisation of having to organise your menu, and really start to get things in place.

What are you most looking forward to about the final?

For me, I am most looking forward to the adrenaline and the buzz of the competition. It is so amazing to be a part of such prestigious competition. I think the buzz, and the atmosphere will really take over when we get into our stations.

I think to have to chance to cook for such an amazing line up of judges is also something to look forward to. Realistically, it is very rare to see such a line-up of chefs in one place, never mind having the chance to cook for them!

How will you be preparing for the final over the next few weeks?

Preparations for the final are going to be fast paced. There isn’t a lot of time between normal day to day tasks at work and making time to practice, so it’s generally out of hours when I’ll be practicing. The main thing is to make sure the dishes are well balanced then ensuring they are timed well. For me, the most important thing is the organisation, so I’ll be spending a lot of time on that in my preparations. Being well organised can save a huge amount of time in the actual competition.

Why did you decide to enter NCOTY?

I decided to enter National Chef of the Year, mainly, because I want to win the competition. I don’t think there is much point entering if that is not your ultimate goal. However, it is also the buzz and energy that comes from doing the competition that gets me excited too! For me, to be able to say I won National Chef of the Year 2016 would be a huge thing, and is 100% the reason I entered!

What do you think the biggest challenge will be on the day?

Timing, without a doubt, everyone wants to push themselves as hard and as far as they can, but you have to remember we have 12 plates of food to cook in 2 hours, and it has to be good! So ensuring all components come together at the right time, and the right speed, and temperature is going to be important. There is a fine line between playing it safe, and doing too much. Hopefully my menu and MEP is right on that line!

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