Chef of the Week: Daniel Scott, Executive Chef at 20 Stories in Manchester

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Approximately 15 months, I started in October 2021.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I come from a large family that is filled with great cooks. My childhood is filled with memories of large family meals & gatherings. The skills I’ve acquired have come from every restaurant/hotel I’ve worked at over the past 25 years. If you pay attention, every chef you work with can teach you something, regardless of position.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The variety. No two days are the same and you are constantly challenged.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Salt, fat & acid – A bit of a cheat three, but they make everything taste great, on the savoury side of the kitchen obviously!

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
Sharp knives! They make everything easier!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Not so much a trend… but I think the industry, as a whole, is making better choices in the sourcing of ingredients. There is lots of amazing restaurants now that are vegetable led, not vegetarian or vegan, just making vegetables as important as the protein.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Thinking they know more than they do.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
The start of any new season. Each one comes with it’s own variety & inspirations.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
The one’s I like most are those that have come about as a team. I really like to see the junior chefs having an input. Again, nobody knows everything and anyone can make a suggestion that elevates a dish.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I look to the season and what is available to me.

Who was your greatest influence?
To me personally & professionally, Stuart Collins & Ian Derbyshire. Across my career, there’s too many to list. In terms of work ethic, my father.

Tell us three chefs you admire.
Chris Bassett, Gareth Stevenson and Gavin Edney. ‘Celebrity chefs’… Clare Smyth, Magnus Nilsson and Fergus Henderson.

What is your favourite cookbook?

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
The ones listed above. Locally to Manchester, Joseph Otway. No question.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
I’m terrible at getting out to new restaurants as so many now operate on a 4-day week. So I’ll just say my top three places to eat in Manchester that I went to last year. Flawd, Erst & Mana.