Darren Archer

How long have you been at RSA House?

5 years this October

Which was the first restaurant you worked in?

Hilaire in South Kensington where Simon Hopkinson cut his teeth.

What was the last London restaurant you went to?

Lima a Peruvian restaurant in Covent Garden, simple zesty food with very potent Pisco sours.

What or who has been the biggest influence on the way you cook and why?

My chef/owner Hilaire using fresh seasonal ingredients which wasn’t the norm when I first started.

What is your personal signature dish?

Seared foie gras on camapgrain toast, duck egg, green tomato & apple chutney.

Which other chef’s) do you most admire?

Joël Robuchon who pioneered a new way of dinning at his Paris restaurant L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, also a group of chef s focused on seasonal cooking during the late 80s and early 90s including Simon Hopkinson, Alastair Little and Shaun Hill.

What’s the best part of your job?

The creativity, which I feel is a subconscious need we require to be content & happy individuals.

And the worst?

The unsociable hours & the skills shortage facing the industry.

What would your last meal be?

If you know you’re going to die, comfort food is most likely what you’d go for.
Seared scallops, bacon, Jerusalem artichoke puree
Steak, chips & béarnaise
Rhubarb & apple crumble & custard

Do you have a chef’s shortcut that you can share with us?

Not a kitchen shortcut but one for home cooks, use Knorr stock pots a great substitute for homemade stocks (Marco Pierre White & Simon Hopkinson always had Knorr in their kitchens).