Five minutes with Elliott Grover, Executive Chef at Duck & Waffle
Atop one of London’s highest buildings, a gastronomic feast awaits. The iconic Duck and Waffle sits on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower and proudly boasts the title of London’s highest 24-hour restaurant. Famed for its namesake dish, crispy duck leg confit and a fried duck egg served on top of a savoury waffle, the restaurant attracts foodies from all around the world.
We caught up with the restaurant’s new Executive Chef, Elliott Grover, to discover a little more about him and what he would do in the unfortunate (and unlikely) event of being stuck on a desert island…
Elliott Grover’s love for cooking started on the coast in his hometown of Cornwall. Inspired by the region’s fresh seafood as well as watching Chef Rick Stein’s Seafood Odyssey on television, he decided to pursue a culinary career and move to London at the age of sixteen. Elliott landed his first official job behind the burners at Caprice Holdings’ famous Le Caprice restaurant and then quickly moved through the ranks in a variety of the group’s projects from Scott’s Mayfair to Hix Soho and finally The Ned.
What’s your first memory of food?
I cooked a Victoria sponge cake at home in Cornwall when I was around twelve years old. The recipe was from a Gary Rhodes book, which was actually gifted to me by my nan. He had a kids’ TV programme back in the day which I liked to watch; I remember the recipe so well because my Mum was shocked that it looked exactly like the picture in the cookbook!
What’s the first recipe you learned to cook?
The first real recipe I cooked was a spiced lentil dish at Le Caprice when I was sixteen. It was so delicious and one of the first and few vegan dishes in London at the time.
What’s something surprising that you’ve learnt in your cooking career?
You don’t have to be an angry chef to gain success. I treat each member of my team the way I’d like to be treated. Respect is very important. Angry chefs create angry food. I always come in with a very positive, happy attitude and I think this is reflected in each dish.
What’s the one recipe you can’t live without?
I don’t think I could name one recipe, there are just too many. The Hog Wash dressing for our oysters at Duck & Waffle or the Twice Baked Keens Cheddar Soufflé would have to be top of the list though.
What’s the one ingredient you’d take to a desert island with you?
Water! There is an endless amount of things you can do with water. Stocks for mushroom risotto… veal stock… water is key in cooking and everyone forgets that.
What’s the meal you’d miss the most whilst there?
Steak tartare, it’s my favourite. When I was eighteen, I used to finish my shift at Le Caprice and slip into The Wolseley and have a steak tartare with fries. I must have done it over 100 of times. It was a bit posh in there for a young chef, but I loved it so much. It’s a special place.
You can have a one-off dinner party on your desert island…who would you invite and why?
Bear Grills, so he could get me off the island.
Which cookbook would you take with you to the island?
The Ritz cook book by John Williams. I wouldn’t have any of the ingredients to cook his food, but at least I would smile.
Discover more about London’s iconic Duck and Waffle restaurant here.