Daniel Clifford After Hours

The two-Michelin-star chef of Cambridge’s Midsummer House tells Alicia Miller about what inspires his cooking – from San Sebastián to southern France – and shares his perfect after-work supper

The first time I saw food differently

was when we went to the south of France when I was 15. None of us spoke any French, and my mum ordered what we thought were bacon sandwiches. What turned up instead was bread with air-dried ham – a sort of Parma ham – which I had never seen before. I thought to myself, ‘this is pretty nice’.

I was really surprised by the restaurants in Las Vegas.

I was expecting everything to be very American but there are a lot of European chefs over there – Gordon Ramsay is huge! Next I really want to go to Japan, and to Thailand too – I’ve never been to either and Asian food is something I know very little about.

In San Sebastián, they eat in a lovely way.

You can go to ten different tapas restaurants in one night and each is different. At one, I just had sautéed ceps with parsley – perfect. At another I had elvers, baby eels, which I’ve always wanted to try. But my best ever meal? Michel Bras (https://www.bras.fr/en) in Laguiole is up there – it was a career changer for me, seeing how Michelin food could be so simple yet so tasty.

My New Year’s resolution

was to visit all of the two-Michelin- starred restaurants in the UK. So far I’ve made it to Whatley Manor (https://www.whatleymanor.com/) and Dinner (https://www.dinnerbyheston.com/). They all stood out – at Dinner it was the pigeon dish with an amazing mash; at Whatley Manor a foie gras mousse with teriyaki. Next I’m visiting Le Gavroche (http://www.le-gavroche.co.uk) and I can’t wait.

The Dead Hippie burger at Meat Liquor

is worth the train fare from Cambridge on its own. When I come to London I almost always have lunch there (https://meatliquor.com/). I love the concept – all walks of life go there, and the atmosphere is great.

I’m not much of a cocktail guy,

my go-to drink is vodka and cranberry, which I drank up in Manchester House’s bar – it’s part of Aiden Byrne’s new Manchester restaurant. It’s beautiful. I did a kitchen shift while I was there (http://www.manchesterhouse.uk.com/).

When I get the chance to eat out near home

there’s Yippee Noodles (http://yippeenoodlebar.co.uk/) on Kings Street in Cambridge. I have the chicken noodle soup when I go, and my kids love it too.

When I get home from a long shift

all I want is a cheese and salad cream sandwich. I put crisps in it too. My partner gets upset and says it’s not right that I should be eating something like that after cooking nice food all day. But it’s in that moment that I’m at my happiest.

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