Acorns 2021: Danny Young, 27

28 July 2021
Acorns 2021: Danny Young, 27

Head chef, Northcote, Langho, Lancashire

Nominator Craig Bancroft, managing director, Northcote

Driven by a passion to cook, Danny Young kickstarted his career aged 16 by signing on for a four-year apprenticeship at the Michelin-starred Northcote in Lancashire. He's earned steady promotion ever since.

As well as moving around the company's then-owned Ribble Valley Inns sites, he gained experience of high-volume delivery at the offsite operation at Blackburn Rovers, and at events such as former football manager Alex Ferguson's testimonial, which had 1,000 guests.

His commitment didn't go unnoticed and in 2015 he was made chef de partie, reaching the position of sous chef by 2016. Senior sous followed in 2019 and he became heavily involved in menu development, menu costings, stock control, margin management and delivering consistent profitability.

In April 2021, after demonstrating impressive leadership throughout the pandemic, Danny was promoted to head chef. Notably, he was instrumental in the development of Northcote at Home, despite a tight budget and small team. The launch resulted in sales of £1m and stellar write-ups in the national press, including The Observer's Jay Rayner citing the excellent flavour combinations.

His many achievements include scooping Young National Chef of the Year 2018.

However, far from resting on his laurels, he regularly takes time out of work to mentor young students for competitions such as Springboard Future Chef, with his latest mentee, Matthew Marriott, becoming a regional winner in 2020.

What is the most positive people change you see for your sector post-restrictions?

"This experience has given us an opportunity to explore other avenues of working, some of which have resulted in an improvement in employees' work-life balance and a recognition of its importance to mental health. This has had a positive impact, not just on employee morale but on the business itself."

Photography: Hospitality Media/Adrian Franklin

Back to the 2021 Acorn Award winners >>

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