Wild about Norfolk: 5 minutes with chef patron of The Wildebeest
- Credit: Archant
Daniel Smith was once head chef at The Wildebeest. Now he has added the fine dining pub near Norwich to his Ingham Swan business and is back - as joint owner and chef patron
Why did you choose to become a chef?
From an early age my mother was a massive influence. And as we lived in a coastal area, hospitality played a huge part in my childhood and I always had an interest in food.
Where did you grow up and where did you train?
I was born in Yarmouth, so went to Great Yarmouth College and then worked in London at Le Gavroche, for Michel Roux Jr.
What is your earliest food-related memory?
My fondest food memories when growing up were of eating roast lamb, cooked for me by my grandmother. Barbecues are something I also enjoyed and were always a social event.
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- 3 Win the full range of Bashall Spirits Gins
- 4 10 great circular walks in Lancashire
- 5 15 festivals and shows happening this summer in Devon
- 6 9 Devon pubs and bars with great beer gardens
- 7 6 great walks near Ramsbottom
- 8 6 waterfall walks in Derbyshire and the Peak District
- 9 9 places to eat out in Chester this summer
- 10 An illustrated guide to the ‘prettiest village in England’
What is the strangest thing you have eaten?
Strawberries with a fillet steak was quite possibly the worst thing I have ever tried; cooked by an Australian of all people.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Owning my own business and achieving Michelin Bib Gourmand at the Ingham Swan - so it is something I would love to achieve at The Wildebeest.
What do you enjoy most about working at The Wildebeest?
Working with a great team and using fantastic ingredients from Norfolk and surrounding areas.
What are your plans for The Wildebeest?
Raising the profile of The Wildebeest on Norfolk’s culinary map and adding accommodation.
What would you say is special about your menu?
We bake fresh bread twice a day, we make all of our own ice creams and sorbets, and also offer diverse tasting menus to showcase our fine produce.
What is your favourite local ingredient?
In season, asparagus from the Tacons of Rollesby is amazing. My favourite meat is saltmarsh lamb and I love skate from the Lowestoft Fish Market.
Are there any foods you can’t stand?
I don’t like tomato ketchup, baked beans or, weirdly, mashed potato.
Have you had any cooking disasters?
The biggest was a lack of egg white in a fish mousse, which didn’t set for a large wedding party.
Do you cook for friends and family too?
I love to cook at home and I am very partial to a barbecue.
What would your last supper consist of?
Skate and chips cooked in beef dripping.
The Wildebeest, Norwich Road, Stoke Holy Cross, near Norwich, NR14 8QJ; 01508 492497; www.thewildebeest.co.uk