Chef of the Week: Dean Legg, Chef Proprietor of The Duck Inn, Nr Canterbury

Dean Legg

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have owned The Duck Inn near Canterbury for a year now

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
At a young age I grew up cooking outdoors at home in South Africa and that’s where I fell in love with food and open fire cooking. I studied culinary arts back home but I owe my knowledge and skills to Scott Goss where I worked alongside him at The 26 and The Beacon in Tunbridge Wells.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
The rewarding feeling of seeing and making our customers happy through our food and what we do.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Butter, Garlic and salt.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
My right-hand man, Callum, and our trusty Thermomix.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I think people are beginning to understand the importance of sustainability and are therefore avoiding meat a lot more and using cheaper, more readily available types of foods and products like the uglier fruits and veg and more fish, especially those that aren’t over fished and are far more sustainable. Goat seems to be making a big mark on the food scene too.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
I think people are beginning to understand the importance of sustainability and are therefore avoiding meat a lot more and using cheaper, more readily available types of foods and products like the uglier fruits and veg and more fish, especially those that aren’t over fished and are far more sustainable. Goat seems to be making a big mark on the food scene too.
Naivety to what the industry is about and what commitment it takes to succeed and the sacrifices that are made. TV hasn’t helped that I don’t think.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring, the arrival of all the beautiful fruit and veg, and we are lucky enough to have our own veg garden and use our own produce on our menu.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Our Sunday roast seems to have made an influence and we’re proud of that, it’s hard to find a decent Sunday roast that reminds you of home and we tried to make sure we could make our guests leave saying “it was better than mums”. We also made our own haggis through the game season and it came out really well.

How do you come up with new dishes?
We work very closely with our suppliers and base our menu and ideas around the time of year and what is readily available and what is best in season. Callum and I throw ideas around daily and bouncing ideas off each other is a great way to create our menu. Often our best dishes happen by chance and not over thinking it.

Who was your greatest influence?
Magnus Nilsson.

 Tell us three chefs you admire.
Magnus Nilsson, Sean Brock and Scott Goss.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Faviken & The Nordic Cookbook by Magnus Nilsson.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Luke Selby at Hide and Tom Brown at Cornerstone.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Cornerstone and The Fordwich Arms.

www.theduckpettbottom.com

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