Head chef, Rothay Manor, Ambleside, Cumbria
Nominator Greg Stephenson
Daniel McGeorge didn't intend to have a career in hospitality – it, as the saying goes, chose him. After studying for a law degree, in 2011 he went to Liverpool Community College to develop his passion for cooking.
Since graduating, he has worked in several high-profile kitchens alongside chefs including Simon Rimmer, Sam Moody and Ben Mounsey. In taking on the head chef role at Rothay Manor, he retained its two rosettes in 2018 and then earned it a third in 2019. He has also helped to establish the Ambleside restaurant as a place to eat in the Lake District, and increased profitability from £277,000 in 2018 to nearly £340,000 in 2019.
McGeorge is also a familiar name on the National Chef of the Year competition circuit. He placed as a semi-finalist in 2019 and again this year. He also mentors his team to participate in continual professional development alongside his own training, including pursuing the WSET Level 2.
In view of the recent time spent locked out of hospitality, what did you miss the most?
I like to keep busy, so lockdown was hard, probably more so on my partner, who I most likely drove insane. It's like a second family in the kitchen, so of course I missed the team too – just don't tell them that!
Do you think the hospitality industry could be more sustainable? Not just in terms of plastics and waste but in terms of careers and diversity, training, and growth?
The hospitality industry is probably one of the most difficult to make more sustainable, as it's so dependent on guests. Creating a work-life balance is also difficult and increasing salaries in line with other professions has its own issues.
Who is your hospitality hero?
Ben Mounsey, the chef-patron of Cloak Dining in the Wirral. He is one of my previous head chefs as well as a close friend who has influenced my cooking style and my mentality in the kitchen.