Following a move from a university kitchen to stints with Jean Bardet and Marco Pierre White, he spent time at Howfield Manor Hotel and Restaurant and The Bell Inn, and Box Tree. A revelation came following visits to The Fat Duck and Michel Bras. Utilising some of the more unexpected combinations of flavour and styles of preparation that he discovered there, he opened Midsummer House to high acclaim and very quickly won the attention of the Michelin inspectors. The restaurant won one star in 2002 and another in 2005.
Clifford looks towards French technique and focuses on local and seasonal produce.
Innovations like the Pacojet and sous-vide cooking are in his repertoire, but taste comes first – with his recipes emphasising seasonal combinations such as mackerel and pickled cucumber with ingredients like caviar, bourbon and lime.
Asked what defines him as a chef, Clifford answers, 'For me, the taste is the most important thing. Presentation has always come into it but it’s got to taste nice in your mouth first.'
Guardian critic Matthew Norman commented, '[Midsummer House] is an extremely well run and likable restaurant presided over by an inventive, gifted chef driven by the desire to please punters rather than inspectors'. Furthermore, Square Meal compliments Clifford’s ‘sure touch and keen eye for quality ingredients [that] have kept things spanking-fresh’.
Daniel Clifford competed on Great British Menu 2012 and won the main course with a perfect chicken dish. He has contributed 15 recipes to the first Great British Chefs app including a chicken wings with Reblochon pomme puree that is an early version of chicken perfection, and these wonderfully simple cheese scones.