WHO'S WHO: Dan Spence, award-winning chef
Dan Spence is the chef at the Market restaurant in Camden Town s Parkway. On Monday night he and his business partner Denise Tang celebrated winning the best local restaurant award at the star-studded London Restaurant Awards. He is 36 and lives in Archwa
Dan Spence is the chef at the Market restaurant in Camden Town's Parkway. On Monday night he and his business partner Denise Tang celebrated winning the best local restaurant award at the star-studded London Restaurant Awards. He is 36 and lives in Archway.
How was the awards ceremony night?
It was very big and grand. It was exciting too, at the Grosvenor House Hotel, with about 700 people, all in black tie. Not one of Gordon Ramsey's pubs was mentioned - then again it would be funny if he were to pick up an award for a pub that he's never been to.
What are your culinary inspirations?
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Our food is traditional British, although we also go outside of this. We don't just serve British food: I serve pasta, while some British restaurants don't go near a chorizo. We evolve with what's available at the market, rather than planning months in advance. I'd like to thank my business partner Denise Tang, with whom I set up this restaurant. We don't try to copy St John - they are very unique - you can tell if someone has copied them.
Who is your food hero?
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I'm very respectful towards Mark Hix.
What's your favourite thing about Camden Town?
I like its diversity. I also like its closeness to the West End and the park. Also that it's close to Archway, where I live. It's also busy and interesting - you always walk down the street and see something interesting.
What's the worst thing?
The parking's not great. And the lack of great restaurants - I suppose that's why we set up this business.
Which are your favourite shops and restaurants?
I like the Melrose and Morgan Deli in Primrose Hill, and the two Portuguese delis on Pratt Street. They do great coffee and custard tarts. Inverness Street is good - it's where we get some of our fruit and veg.
Which buildings in camden are your favourites?
The new St Pancras Station. I love the mix of old and new. It could bring a gourmet movement through the Eurostar. I mean, Angela Hartnett, Gordon Ramsay's protege, is opening a new Italian restaurant in Regent's Park in September.
What's the biggest eyesore in the area?
The burnt out bit with the remains of the Hawley Arms, but that's getting done up soon, I hope.
What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?
I'd have a bull run, Pamplona-style, down Parkway.
Why did you decide to become a chef?
It was when I was living in Cornwall - I was working in a restaurant washing up, aged 17. It went from there.