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3 Viaduct Gardens
Nine Elms
SW11 7AY

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The Chef

Dean Parker

With an unwavering dedication to finding the best ingredients around and amplifying their flavour through a variety of techniques, Dean Parker is an exciting young chef who's become integral to Robin Gill's restaurant empire.

Despite the huge number of restaurants that seem to open every year in London, there is a serious shortage of skilled chefs to cook in them. So when Dean Parker started working for Robin Gill in his acclaimed restaurant The Dairy, he must have been a saving grace. Now the fantastic head chef at Darby's (which he also co-owns), he has set himself apart from the crowd by being an incredible baker and experimental preserver as well as having the skills needed to run a high profile restaurant. And it all stemmed from his time growing up in South Africa at his grandparents’ hotel.

‘My grandparents were always involved in the kitchen,’ he says. ‘My gran used to do loads of baking and my grandpa used to be growing stuff in the garden. I guess my love for food stemmed from that, although I didn’t actually decide I wanted to be a chef until I was about sixteen.’

Uninterested in the South African cooking scene at the time, Dean decided to move to the UK aged just nineteen to learn the ropes. ‘My gran was originally from Brighton, my sister lived over here at the time and London just seemed like a really cool city to be in,’ he says. ‘I worked at a few different places – a restaurant called Harlem in Bayswater and doing some in-house catering for places like EMI Records – but it wasn’t until I went to Lamberts Restaurant three years after I arrived in the UK that I really started to understand food.’