A professional chef for over twenty years, Daniel is Chef Patron of the two Michelin-starred restaurant, Midsummer House in Cambridge, and Executive Chef and owner of The Flitch of Bacon in Little Dunmow, Essex. He is widely regarded as one of the most inventive and gifted chefs of his generation. Renowned for his modern British cooking, underpinned by an unmistakably French style, Daniel reinvents British classics using the finest local produce. He has held two Michelin stars since 2005.
On 5 October 2015, Daniel Clifford was awarded the prestigious award of Chefs’ Chef of the Year at the 2015/16 AA awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel. Daniel Clifford was praised for turning Midsummer House into one of the country's finest restaurants, while being an "inspiration to so many chefs at all levels." He is at Midsummer House five days a week.
Many of you will recognise Daniel from his television work on the BBC’s annual Great British Menu competition pitting the country’s top chefs against each other to serve their dishes at the most prestigious of banquets. Daniel has won twice and subsequently become a judge. He won the 2012 series with his main course “Slow poached chicken, sweetcorn egg, spinach with bacon and peas” and in 2013 with his dessert “Going Out With a Bang.” Incidentally, Daniel’s Head Chef from Northern Ireland, Mark Abbott, won 2016’s starter based on the humble potato with “Ordinary To Extraordinary."
Jean-François Imbert, known as “Monsieur,” has been our Restaurant Director at Midsummer House for the past three years. He has been the lynchpin for ensuring our clientele consistently experience the most enjoyable service possible.
“Monsieur” is supported by a front of house team who are young and enthusiastic and who appreciate a bit of gravitas, even though sometimes his British humour does not match their continental leanings!
His impressive pedigree is matched with Michelin stars on his journey from Paris to Cambridge. Firstly, as a young waiter at the esteemed three star, Le Bristol in Paris; then secondly, stopping more than a decade at the legendary three star, The Waterside Inn in Bray; before thirdly, choosing to improve his management skills in a larger hotel at the one star L’Hostellerie la Briqueterie at Vinay Champagne. When the decision was made for him to come back to the UK, the choice was wide but nothing came close to Daniel Clifford’s challenging offer.
Our Head Chef, Mark Abbott, came from a farming background in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. He was drawn to the kitchen after completing work experience at a local hotel. Mark learned his kitchen skills under the tutorage of Michael Deane at Haydn Deane in Helen’s Bay, County Down, where Michael Deane earned his first Michelin star.
Mark then developed his skillset further at the renowned Gleneagles Hotel working under the inspirational two Michelin starred chef Andrew Fairlie. After that he moved to Paul Kitching’s Michelin starred restaurant 21212 in Edinburgh before seizing the opportunity here with Daniel Clifford.