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THE DISH author Stella Newman interviews superstar chef Dan Doherty of Duck & Waffle

My new novel, The Dish, is a romantic comedy about a  relationship between a restaurant critic and a chef, but the main love affair  — as in all my books —  is  with food.

In recent years London  has seen the arrival of many brilliant (and not so brilliant) new food trucks, pop-ups and car-park-kimchee-ramen joints  — but one of the most consistently excellent places to eat has been Duck & Waffle, on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, near Liverpool Street station. D&W  has it all — creative, beautifully executed food; a glamorous, fun atmosphere; one of the most spectacular  views of London — and  it’s open 24 hours a day, every day of the week!  If you go there and don’t order the flatbreads, don’t ever bother  speaking to me  again.

Executive chef, Dan Doherty (you can buy his fabulous  book here! – right after you’ve bought mine) is one of the most generous, talented and hard-working people I’ve ever met.  He kindly let me study his kitchen during evening service to observe a master  chef at work. (Supremely calm,  totally focussed, insane attention to detail — none of your sweary, testosteroney nonsense.) Plus he didn’t report me to security when I spent twenty five minutes going up and down in the amazing glass lifts, trying to capture the extraordinary view of the city in fast motion, that makes it onto p.75 of the paperback.

I asked him  some quick food-related questions  and here’s what he said:

Your ideal Valentine’s meal
I hate valentines and refuse to celebrate. So I’d say a pizza or a rich pasta dish, ox cheek ragout?
If you weren’t cooking, where would you eat? (other than D&W)
Simple, easy and fun places. No romance — you have the whole year for that.
The very best thing about being a chef?
Cooking whatever you crave, it’s also relaxing too. Most importantly I get to do what I love.
Your best cheap eat in London?
Hard one — Honey & Co set lunch. Not really a cheap eat but it’s cheap and bloody tasty.
The most delicious thing you’ve eaten in London in recent months
King crab at Beast.
What would your dream job be if you weren’t a chef?  (I think the answer might be footballer, but might be imagining that.)
Yes! Or anything to do with sport.
Your favourite burger in the UK
Patty & bun locally, Big Mac if hungover.
The best way with a potato you’ve ever encountered
Mash the bugger. Loads of cream. And butter. Or chips. Or dauphinoise. Too many decisions.
Who’s been your biggest inspiration in your career / life?
Probably my best friend and fellow chef Tom Cenci.


THE DISH by Stella Newman is available in ebook now and in paperback on 21 May.

If you liked this, why not take a look at  travel and foodie heaven at the inaugural Rooftop Book Club?