Chef of the Week: Dan Anderson, Head Chef at Andersons Bar & Grill in Birmingham

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have been working and running the restaurant for 10 years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for my trade came at the tender age of 14, I’d been given the opportunity to work in a small kitchen team as a KP in Derbyshire by my Auntie who worked there as a manager, as I watched what the chefs were doing at the time it started to get under my skin, so I took more responsibility within the kitchen. I’ve been in the trade now for 26 years to which I have had to good fortune to work in some of the most prestigious restaurants and kitchens throughout the UK, France and Spain.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
It has to be the creativity aspect and ethical responsibility of which I enjoy most, but of which  are only a small part of being a Chef. There are many other aspects to being in a kitchen and understanding how they work.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
These are very simple but in my mind the most important. Salt, Fat, citrus.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
This would have to be my Thermomix, one of the truly great kitchen inventions of the 21 century for a chef.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
At the moment I think it’s getting very eclectic, I have never seen so many different styles and global influences as I have over the last 5 years. But I think Japanese seems to be the style I can see which has the most influence. Not just the ingredients but also the logic and ethics as well, a point Of which I adore!

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Seasoning – The importance of Salt is huge and tasting what they are cooking!

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring for me, the first point of the year which starts to see the heat coming back to the ground and the first new shoots of produce coming through always fills me with new ideas for dishes.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I think I’m proud of all of my dishes, its more about the produce of which I’m proud. The work we have undertaken with our beef has taken many years to which we are now one of the only UK restaurants which deal with as many rare and native breeds as we do, we work closely with the RBST and Slow Food UK to bring a truly unique ethical point of view to sustainability and economic realisation within the UK farming industry.

Who was your greatest influence?
Many Chefs over the years! All for different reasons. But my stand out guys who I have had the pleasure of working with has got to be Richard Turner previously  of the 1 star Turners of Harborne, Robert Moses of 1 star Stanford Hall and my Business Partner Nick Crudgington, a truly inspirational restaurateur.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
I admire Albert Adria, whom I’ve had the pleasure in meeting and chatting to last year in Barcelona, what a journey he has been on and continues to! Grant Achetz, who I think is totally creative and forward thinking, and finally Rick Stein simply because I look the way his passion and style of presenting for all things food always makes me want to eat!

What is your favourite cookbook?
I don’t have one, I have hundreds!

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Damien Wager who is an amazing pastry chef and Dan Cox, his mantra of farm to table is unrivalled.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Probably Folium in Saint Paul’s Square Birmingham, it may be a little over a year now but their food is truly stunning.