Meet the chef: Ian Dunkerley of Dunkerley's of Deal
PUBLISHED: 13:33 10 January 2011 | UPDATED: 17:29 20 February 2013
Chef-patron Ian Dunkerley on why he returned to his roots in Deal
Meet the chef:
Ian Dunkerley of Dunkerleys of Deal
Tell us about yourself
At 13, I worked in a fish and chip shop after school, it kept me off the streets and out of trouble. I think I was the first lad in the school to swop woodwork for domestic science. After three years at Thanet Catering College I moved to Browns Hotel in Mayfair as a commis chef, then to the Woolpack in Chilham, where I met a country wench, the lovely Linda, and dragged her of to Deal where my roots are. In 1981 I took head chef at The Royal Hotel, part of the Mermaid Group of eight hotels. By 1985 the company gave us their largest hotel to look after, The Abbots Barton Hotel in Canterbury, and I became director Of Mermaid Cellars And Shipping. Then in 1987 the entrepreneurial bug grabbed us again and we purchased freehold the Pegasus.
Whats your signature dish?
Kingsdown fillet of wild sea bass, roasted and served with saffron velout and new season Thanet asparagus.
Your top cookery tip for readers?
When buying fish, look for bright eyes not sunken, and press the flesh - it should bounce back and not leave an indentation. Do not overcook fish as it then becomes dry and uninteresting.
Who has influenced you most?
The sous chef, Alf Barret, at Browns Hotel. A hard taskmaster, I got punished when I got cocky, but he was a great friend and respected by all the young chefs. He coached the hotel football team and introduced us to golf we worked hard but played hard too.
Your must-have kitchen gadget?
Hand blenders, Robot Coupes, are an integral part of the modern kitchen, but for me the trusted old food mixer remains king.
Who would you most like to cook for?
Margaret Thatcher - lean with great backbone she had balls!
Dunkerleys Restaurant and Hotel
19 Beach Street, Deal CT14 7AH
Tel: 01304 375016 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Typical prices: set menu, two courses 21.50, three 3 courses 27.50
Restaurant open: Tue-Fri 12pm-2.30pm and 7pm-9.30pm, Sat 12pm - 2.30pm and 6pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-3pm