Feeding the 24-hour Party People
Dan Doherty’s meteoric rise to food fame has been swift and decisive. At a mere 28 years of age, he became Executive Chef of Duck & Waffle, one of the UK’s first, high-end 24-hour restaurants perched on 40th floor of London’s iconic Heron Tower.
Born and raised in Shrewsbury, a quaint town nestled on the English countryside, Dan kickstarted his career with an apprenticeship at the Michelin star rated City Institution 1 Lombard Street. He subsequently went on to open The Old Brewery, a restaurant and microbrewery located in Greenwich to rave reviews.
Dan’s signature dishes include playful, ingredient-driven offerings such as the Foie Gras Crème Brûlée and fan-favourite, the Spicy Ox Cheek Doughnut. His many honours include the title of “Rising Star Chef,” which he received at the 2013 Tatler Restaurant Awards, his acceptance into The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts as the youngest member to date in 2014 and being named one of London’s “1000 Most Influential People of 2014” in the Tastemaker category by the London Evening Standard.
Lusso Contributor Mallika Basu caught up with Dan, following his stint as a judge at the S.Pellegrino Young Chef’s Competition in London’s Harrods.
Duck & Waffle is a 24-hour restaurant. What’s often your biggest challenge?
Obviously never closing presents many potential complications, but I guess the biggest is staff. Without the chefs we are unable to operate, and that was tough in the beginning. Now we have a very stable core of great guys so we are able to push the menu more now.
What’s your favourite time of the day at the restaurant?
I’d say dusk, when it’s light enough to see the city, but dark enough for all the lights in the buildings to have an impact.
You spoke about “funny eating habits” as part and parcel of the lifestyle of a chef. What’s your worst guilty pleasure (there’s got to be worse than pasta for breakfast and beers and pizza)?
I have no shame is saying Dairylea dunkers and most fast food. It’s all about balance!
What’s the biggest mistake customers make when placing an order?
Our bread is cooked to order and takes 8-10 minutes. Some people just don’t get that, no matter how many times you tell them. Eight minutes isn’t a lot to wait for something as fresh as home baked bread, is it?
Did you ever create a dish only to be gobsmacked by how popular it became?
Yes, the Colombian eggs we serve for breakfast. We were too meat heavy so wanted a lighter non meat option, but my god we sell so many I honestly never expected that.
What’s the most decadent dish you have ever sampled? And served?
Sampled, the chocolate bomb at L’anima, and served, wow, that’s a hard one. Probably our foie gras crème brûlée.
And finally, what can we look forward to on the Duck & Waffle menu next?
We have just launched a new Spring menu, which has a lovely light crab dish going on with English wasabi and also a raw beef dish with leek kimchee too.