Daniel Clifford, two starred Michelin chef at his riverside restaurant Midsummer House in Cambridge and TV regular, publishes his first book on June 21st – Midsummer’s Day. Part autobiography, and part chefs cookbook, ‘Out of my Tree – Midsummer House’ is a ‘warts and all’ account of the pressures and triumphs of his 20 years in the hospitality industry; a brutally honest account of his life story, and a tribute to the distinctive style and sophistication of his dishes.
Out of My Tree tells the story of how Daniel went from being a dyslexic child from a broken home to one of the best chefs in the country.
“I have been a chef most of my life. It’s almost all I know. It’s made me the man I am today – good and bad, happy and sad, right and wrong. This is the story of how I went from someone who no-one thought would amount to anything to a chef with two Michelin stars and a business I am fiercely proud of,” says Daniel.
Published by Meze, at 388 pages, the large format hardback is priced at £45 and is available at the Midsummer House restaurant and through Amazon.
There are over 140 recipes from his professional kitchen, right from the early days of Midsummer in the late 90s through garnering two Michelin stars and the success of the introduction of his tasting menu through to the very latest recipes the restaurant is serving today. The recipes run alongside the story, chronologically, and reveal how his style has developed and become more refined over the years.
His story is very much warts and all; there are no stories missed out or punches pulled – whether it’s discovering what life was like working under Marco Pierre White; uncovering the bully boy tactics of a 1990s British kitchen or discussing his failed relationships, Daniel bares all. The book delves into his childhood and how his unsettled background drove him to make the most of his talent for cooking, as well as unpicking how those early years in some of the most brutal kitchens in the country turned him into one of the most uncompromising chefs around. This is a man who even cancelled his own wedding to work.
And while Daniel has mellowed with age as he spends more time with his five daughters, the things that drove him forward in the first place – a fear of stagnating and the need for drama and conflict – are the things that still drive him to this day.
Daniel counts Tom Kerridge and Sat Bains as two of his closest friends and is widely regarded in the industry as one of the country’s most revered chefs, having won the Chefs’ Chef of the Year at the 2015/16 AA Awards. The book is punctuated with the views of some of the most important people in his story, from his long-time business partner and mentor Russell Morgan to his head chef and recent Great British Menu winner Mark Abbott.
As Sat Bains puts it: “Midsummer House is Daniel’s open love letter to gastronomy; a letter of heartache, pain, sorrow, absolute elation and joy that you’d have to be fucking nuts to endure. He’s proven that we all need goals and if we work hard enough we can achieve anything. I look at this as a chapter in his life that he can now reflect on, and the openness and intimate detail he goes into in this book is a joy to read.”