Duck & Waffle – In the kitchen with the Exec Chef

If you love looking at food on Instagram, you’ve definitely come across pictures of dishes from Duck & Waffle and probably the view from the 40th floor where you can see all of London. Based in the City, it is in such a prime location.

We had the privilege of interviewing Executive Chef, Tom Cenci to give you another view of Duck & Waffle.

Read below for some top tips on cooking for groups of people and what motivates Tom.

Tom Cenci

We’ll start with a standard question which you probably get all the time, when did you know you wanted to become a chef?

I had the chance to do work experience at a local hotel which happened to be Cliveden House, a 5 star country house hotel in Berkshire. Once I got the bug for cooking I never looked back.

We’ve visited Duck and Waffle a few times before as we had heard so much about it -the food and the views, what do you think makes Duck & Waffle so iconic?

Apart from the views obviously we try to ensure our food is original and different, we take a modern approach to a lot of our cooking.

Duck & Waffle restaurant

What does a regular day for Tom look like in one of the most revered restaurants in London?

Every day is different from the next one, so it’s hard to say what a regular day looks like, running a 24 hour restaurant that is 40 stories high really throws its challenges at you. My main task is to make sure everything is running the way it should.

Some people love to cook but shy away from cooking for big groups. What would you say is the best way to handle this pressure and deliver as you do?

The pressure should be there no matter if you’re cooking for 1 or 100 people, you should always try your best and use the pressure to make yourself better. It also takes experience and time to learn to deal with it in the right way.

Dan & Tom small

We noticed on your Instagram a lot of experimenting with new dishes, what keeps you inspired to try new things and where do the ideas come from?

The drive to be better and improve, whenever we change the menu we look to create a dish that was better than the last one.

Everyone knows people eat with their eyes so presentation is king. When you’re building your dish how long does it take to perfect the presentation and is there a method/ process you follow?

Each dish is different, sometimes you create a dish and on the first attempt you nail it, other dishes can takes months of reworking to get it right. I always think about the flavours first and how the dish is going to be cooked, presentation is the easy part after.

There are lots of hidden gems in London when it comes to restaurants, could you share some with us as we’d love to try them out

There’s too many on the list to say them all but Bone-daddies in Soho is always a winner.

What advice would you give aspiring chefs or people who just love to cook?

Cook, cook and cook. As they say practice makes perfect.

The best way is to plan ahead, too many people leave it until they get home to decide what to cook. I’m always thinking about the next meal and what I’m going to do. Plan ahead and you can cook most meals a lot quicker.

What do you want your legacy as a chef to be?

For people to have smiled when they’ve eaten my food.

Thanks for reading. A new Duck & Waffle restaurant – Duck & Waffle Local, a fast casual chef curated restaurant – is opening in Spring 2017 but if you can’t wait until then book a table at their existing site.

You can follow Tom on instagram or twitter for pictures of his amazing dishes!

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