Chef profile - Dan Poole of Provide Kitchen

Dan Poole is a prime example of how some fleet-footed chefs have found a way to navigate the deleterious effects of the lockdown, the tier system and the ongoing trials of running a restaurant during a pandemic.

Dan makes food for delivery and cook-at-home meal. (Picture: Neil Holmes).

He has started Provide Kitchen, utilising his skills to offer food for delivery, cook-at-home meals and, most laudably, meals for school kids at home out of term.

Dan trained under James MacKenzie at the Pipe & Glass, then moved to the now-defunct 1884 group of restaurants that proliferated in Hull over the last decade.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

His stewardship of the kitchen at 1884 Wine & Tapas saw both the restaurant and the chef gain popularity and confidence and it was something of a surprise when he jumped ship and joined new venture, Cave Bar & Kitchen in South Cave.

Chilli Con Carne - one of Dan's recipes. (Picture: Neil Holmes).

He still works part-time at Cave but is building Provide Kitchen to make himself as Covid-proof as possible while working up plans to open a new, as-yet-unnamed restaurant in the once-sleepy but now-nascent town of Hedon, on the eastern edge of Hull.

Can you remember the first dish you ever cooked – and was it a success? It was an anniversary cake for my parents when I was about 12. It looked fantastic, but I’d used bicarbonate of soda instead of baking powder. I found out only years later that Mum and Dad thought it tasted weirdly salty and had to, basically, force it down.

The first time I cooked professionally was for chef Ciaran Phipps at Masons in Hull. He said the salmon and Mediterranean veg I made tasted great but, looking back, it must have been very bland because I didn’t season it. I think he was being kind.

Who is your inspiration in the kitchen and why? My mum. She always instilled in me and my sisters that eating and cooking is family time, so we always sat at the table for our evening meal. I maintain this policy now I’m a dad and I always sit at the table for meals with my three daughters.

I watched mum cook and stuck my oar in whenever I could. She would always buy from the local butchers and greengrocers to get ingredients as fresh as possible and that’s something that inspired me.

What was the first recipe book you ever owned? When it became apparent that I was going to become a chef, my parents bought me Food From Plenty by Diana Henry. It has a great recipe for coconut rice pudding, which went well on the menu at 1884 Wine & Tapas, but my favourite is a recipe for menemen. It’s a sort of Turkish ratatouille but with lots of chillis and baked eggs.

It’s a favourite to share with some mates over a few IPAs. I’ll definitely be offering a version of it on the menu of my new restaurant.

If you organised a dinner party, which three people would you invite and why? I’d go for Jason Smith, the Australian rugby league international who used to play for Hull FC. I loved watching and playing rugby when I was a lad and Jason’s way of leading from the front stuck with me. I’m always first in the kitchen in the morning and last to leave.

A more direct inspiration is my second guest, Gordon Ramsay. I believe he’s the benchmark. I don’t doubt that whatever I cooked for him, he’d give me honest feedback and advice. And I’d also invite Muhammad Ali, just for his all-round greatness and never-say-die attitude.

What is your favourite ingredient and why? I’ll go for the humble cauliflower. It’s so versatile and one of the few ingredients you find in every cuisine. There’s always one in my fridge because it works in everything from soup to roast dinner or as a continental side dish. I am currently working on the perfect spiced cauliflower rosti.