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Hungry for success

David Wilkinson is the new head chef at the ICE. Refreshed from a summer off after two years as sous chef at Claridge's, he cannot wait to start cooking up a storm at One Great George Street. NCE decided to find out more about him.

How long have you been a chef?

Before Claridge's I had nine years at the Mayfair International, and before that two years at the Savoy.

Those are some impressive eateries. Which was the best?

I really enjoyed working at the Mayfair, but John Williams (head chef at Claridge's) was fantastic to work with. He'll always offer me advice if ever I'm stuck for an idea.

Why leave?

Three reasons. One, I wanted a head chef job and it's impossible to progress through the ranks of the major chains. Two, when I came to see the place, I was struck by the tremendous enthusiasm of the team to make this work. And three, I'm getting too old to work 14 hours a day.

You had all summer to work on the menu, but who gets to choose it?

I do. Every day there will be five mains, which will change every two weeks, along with regular specials.

What is best?

The pan fried sea bass is fantastic value.

Every chef has a signature dish, what is yours?

I don't really have one yet, but I'm pleased with the shallot and tomato tart tartin - I just threw it together and it came out really well!

How does the cost compare with other restaurants?

The prices are pretty favourable compared to where I've been used to working!

And plans for the future?

If all goes well, to cater for the early evening and the pre-theatre crowd.

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