clenched-fist-DanChef at Crocadon Farm, St Mellion, Cornwall
Trained with the late Santi Santamaria at Can Fabes, Barcelona.

Formally, executive chef at Simon Rogan’s one Michelin starred, Fera at Claridge’s, Dan has taken on Crocadon Farm in St Mellion, Cornwall, where he plans to open a restaurant at the end of 2017.

Dan announced the news on Instagram: “The day has finally come, I have taken on the most amazing 120 acre organic farm and buildings in St Mellion, Cornwall. All in partnership with Sean O’Neill of The Modern Salad Grower and @goodearthgrowers we plan to build something truly incredible here, growing and cooking together as one, giving food experiences like no other.”

Prior to working at Fera, Dan was head chef at Roux at Parliament Square before joining Aulis, Simon Rogan’s research kitchen in 2011.

Commenting on his experiences with the Roux Scholarship Dan said: “It was a surreal moment for me when, after winning the scholarship, I sat in a restaurant with Albert Roux and he was really interested in me and where I wanted to take my career. I couldn’t believe it. It was a real honour.

When I won, I was working for contract caterer Restaurant Associates and it showed that chefs like me who did not work in traditional restaurants could still compete at the top level. This is something that Albert is very passionate about.

I really wanted to go to Spain and get into El Bulli but both Albert and Michel felt that El Bulli might be the wrong place for me at that particular time. Its not that they didn’t want me to go there but that his style might not suit what I wanted to achieve.

In that they were proved right. They chose Can Fabes and Santi Santamaria and I loved every minute. The whole experience was not at all what I expected. The food was much simpler than I had expected and I fitted into the brigade straight away.

Dan, Santi, Michel & Ivan at El Raco de Can Fabes

The head chef was brilliant with me and it wasn’t long before i was going to the fish market with the chef and seeing how it was landed and bought at the auction. Because of who we were and the fame of the restaurant we often got the first offer of the best fish and that was what I ended up preparing in the kitchen.

Later I ran the fish section and even went to the market on my own and bought the fish. On my days off I travelled as much as I could and got into Barcelona which was an incredible place.

When I got back I was invited by Michel Roux Jr to be the head chef at his new Restaurant in Parliament Square which was a partnership between him and Restaurant Associates. This was a very exciting time for me to learn about setting up a restaurant from scratch and be involved with all the major decisions like kitchen planning and menu creation.

After a very successful opening I decided to part company with Restaurant Associates and I went to work in Switzerland before joining Simon Rogan’s team at L’Enclume. Winning the scholarship has broadened my horizons and given me a lot of confidence in my own ability.”