The Anchors head chef Daniel Watkins

PUBLISHED: 14:17 20 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:00 20 February 2013

Daniel Watkins

Daniel Watkins

Heres cooking with you - Daniel Watkins in Hullbridge Essex

Where do you work and whats your title?
The Anchor in Hullbridge and Im the head chef.

What was it about food which excited you enough to make a career out of it?
I soon found that it was something I took to very easily and very much enjoyed. Its the one career in which you can be creative and have an abundance of stuff to work with, but it also helps that Im a workaholic.

If you werent on the stoves, where would you be now?
In bed, asleep!

Who would you love to cook for and why?
Tough one. I dont really have an answer for that. We cook for a lot of people everyday and in that I take pleasure. There have been a lot of happy customers passing through The Anchor.

How would your team describe you?
Thats a real tough one. I dont think I will get to the truth there, but I would hope theyd say: committed, hard-working, passionate, a little OCD and a lunatic when it comes to ordering in odd numbers and round containers.

Favourite dish to prepare?
I dont have a favourite dish, but I like to use whats best and in season. I also like to go foraging for wild herbs or flowers on the River Crouch and using as much local produce as possible.

Who was your inspiration to take up cooking and how do they affect what you do now?
Im afraid it sounds a bit corny, but it
was my mum that started me off, but everywhere I have ever worked has played
a part in what I do now. I have been fortunate to have worked with some great chefs over the years

Which are your three favourite ingredients to work with?
I cant pin it down to three, but I would say autumnal ingredients, so all the squashes, Jerusalem artichokes and mushrooms. I love using cuts of meats that are not used as much as they should be like veal shins and pigs heads etc.

Any celebrity moments you can share with us?
Not really, although I did meet Antonio Carluccio at the Essex Spectacular the other month, he is a legend and I did have dinner with the Tanner brothers a few months back; nice blokes and great chefs.

Tell us about home, whos there and who cooks most of the time?
My long-suffering, lovely wife Hayley, and our daughter Macey who is now nine. Cooking is all done by Hayley Im too much of a stress head in my kitchen at home!

When Im not in the kitchen I love nothing better than
Time with my family, eating out in London and foraging.

When I was little I wanted to be a
Its too long ago to remember.

Kitchen disasters? Tell us about one youd rather forget.
I wont name or shame, but there have been one or two disasters and they know who they are!

If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?
Id like to smile more.

What is still on lifes list of to dos.
Dinner at Grant Achatz Alinea in Chicago as part of a weekend in New York.

Three top tips for the kitchen
Consistency, organisation and preparation.

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