Last Word: Danny Parker

Executive head chef, Jesmond Dene House

What do you have for breakfast?
I’m pretty organised about breakfast; I tend to have overnight oats with protein powder, almond milk and peanut butter before or after I go to the gym.

And your go-to guilty pleasure?
My three-year-old daughter gets all the credit for this one – the giant crumpet with butter, peanut butter and jam. It’s one of the best treats I’ve ever had. She’s a genius!

What would be your last meal on earth?
I’d go for a slightly warm lemon tart with a brûléed top accompanied by a raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries.

What can I find in your home fridge right now?
Mainly snacks for my daughter – Babybels, smoothies, chocolate mousse, Frubes – all the things I have to try to keep my hands off when I come in from work. The rest is pretty boring – dairy, vegetables, etc.

Which ingredient would you have if you could only choose one?
Good salt is essential; I like a Maldon sea salt.

What’s your most important piece of kitchen kit?
I used to be really into gadgets and gizmos, but I use them a lot less these days. I still use a Thermomix a lot though; it’s a class bit of kit which does exactly what it says.

What’s your favourite cookbook?
I’m a big collector of cookbooks and have a lot in my office. My favourite at the moment is The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook from the landmark New York restaurant. I love reading it and taking inspiration from the ideas on casual fine dining and good neighbourhood food.

What’s your most important piece of advice in the kitchen?
I’d advise every young chef that you don’t have to give up your life to have this career. Go out, experience things, travel and be happy inside and outside the kitchen. Your food will be better for it.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?
For a long time I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps and go into the army. I’m also passionate about fitness, so I would have enjoyed being a personal trainer, or maybe something creative like graphic design.

If you only had £10 to spend on food, what would you buy?
It would have to be a pizza. Newcastle has some brilliant places for pizza, cooked properly with really good ingredients. I wouldn’t want to choose between them, but it would be a pizza in Newcastle.

Who is the greatest cook ever?
There are a few ways to look at this one and come up with very different answers. A few names came to mind of people who’ve directly inspired me, but I think I must work back and say either Paul Bocuse or Fernand Point. Their influence on French cuisine was so important, and what followed led to the development of British food with the arrival of the Roux brothers. Chefs today owe those two godfathers of cooking a hell of a lot.

Jesmond Dene House, Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle, NE2 2EY, tel 0191 212 3000,

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