A chef with a passion for exquisite ingredients and edible creativity, we chatted with Daniel Fletcher, Head Chef at Fenchurch Restaurant to find out more about his inspirations, role models and what it’s like to cook in the sky.
What inspired you to become a chef?
Like a few chefs I know, it started when I was fifteen, washing up in a local restaurant. I was always so curious about what was going on in the kitchen. I still remember the moment the chef said ‘Dan – grab a knife, we need some beans topping and tailing!’ I jumped at the chance to get out of the dish room and I’ve never looked back.
Tell us more about your culinary background…
After finishing catering college, I packed my bags and worked in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. I came back and worked at a number of incredible restaurants, including The Kitchin, under Michelin-awarded chef Tom Kitchin and the Michelin-starred Black Swan pub in Oldstead.
I moved to London to join two Michelin-starred The Square under Phil Howard. After four amazing years at The Square, I was lucky enough to be offered my current role at Fenchurch.
What has been the proudest moment in your career?
A recent moment that stands out was the first time my parents came to eat at Fenchurch. Having them in London and at Fenchurch was an incredible special moment for all of us.
If you weren’t a chef, which career would you like to pursue?
I like to think that I would be doing something just as creative, maybe working as a designer. I love the process of conceptualising and then realising a dish, so would like to work in another creative industry to explore this process further.
What is your favourite midnight snack?
I often eat at midnight after a busy dinner service at Fenchurch. My guilty pleasures when I get in from work is blue cheese on toast with loads of red onion marmalade and a large cup of tea. That’s hard to beat.
Do you have any tips for aspiring chefs?
Focus, listen and work hard.
Describe your cooking style in three words.
Fresh, precise, ingredient-led.
What provides you with inspiration for new recipes?
I find that inspiration can come from just about anywhere. It might be eating in a favourite restaurant, visiting a supplier or just simply seeing two ingredients sitting next to each other on my workbench and imagining how they might work together.
Do you have any role models?
I’ve been inspired by so many chefs during my career, and I’m sure all of them have had a positive impact on the way I work in some way. My time with Tom Kitchin in Edinburgh was incredibly monumental for me.
I learnt so much whilst at The Kitchin, from the physical skill sets required for cheffing, to understanding the unbelievable dedication needed to run a successful kitchen. It’s really stuck with me.
What are your favourite summer ingredients?
Growing up in Yorkshire opened my eyes to what amazing ingredients grow across the UK all year round. I have great memories of picking crab apples, strawberries, raspberries and elderflower as a child. Now they go straight on the menu at Fenchurch as soon as they are in season – it’s something I love to celebrate whenever I can.
What’s next on the cards?
For now my focus is firmly on this new journey at Fenchurch. I am excited to be building on Fenchurch’s existing British contemporary style and ethos, and bringing my own cooking style to the menu. My cooking style is fresh, clean flavours with beautiful presentation – and I very much hope guests will enjoy it.
Find Fenchurch Restaurant: 1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF