Two minutes with Dan Shearman, Carcass Cartel

Published 5 June 2019

Dan Shearman of Carcass Cartel is the star of this week’s Q&A, discussing everything from falling in love with food on the French Riviera, learning the trade in Australia and his favourite places to eat in London.

When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?

I remember this clearly. As a young lad I was taken to a restaurant on the French Riviera and I had a dish of boudin noir with onion tatin and apple puree. It was probably the first posh meal I had ever eaten and it was a revelation to me. I quite literally had to stop myself from crying at the table (I was a sensitive soul)! I thought to myself that if food can evoke these kinds of emotions then what an amazing world to work it must be.

Where and how did you get your start?

My first job in a kitchen was in Australia where I lived for a year as a broke beach bum. I learned a lot about cooking but mainly that life in a working kitchen is hard work. My true start and sense of freedom was buying my beloved food truck and hitting the streets of London.

Sum up your current work life in one sentence.

Prepping hard and catering easy.

Who has been really influential on your career and why?

This is probably where I should start listing chefs that I have worked with, but I’m going to say Toby Allen of the brilliant Brockley Market who gave me my first pitch with the food truck The Roadery. My menu was offal heavy so it was a tough road, but he believed in what I was trying to do and gave me the platform to prove myself. Some of the best days of my career were had down in that little Lewisham car park and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

What’s next for you?

The plan is to build on The Carcass Cartel to promote exciting and modern ways of eating more of the animal. We are beginning with pop-ups, but with the support of some amazing chefs on board and more in the wings, we have some really interesting plans ahead.

What’s your one piece of advice to someone starting out?

Believe in your own vision, look after yourself and don’t let anyone put you down. You will find a lot of over-inflated egos and noxious attitudes within hospitality and there is absolutely no room for that. In the right team surrounded by decent human beings it can be an amazing, warm industry to work in.

Where did you last have a great meal?

Black Axe Mangal. I took my wife for a night of offal and heavy metal for our wedding anniversary. Everything Lee and his team knock out at BAM is fantastic, but the stand out that night was the tete de cochon. I was only disappointed that my wife nabbed the tongue while I wasn’t looking – the best part! But she’s worth it.

Are there any openings you are looking forward to?

Marrying into a Filipino family I’ve developed a love for Pinoy flavours and absolutely love the food that Budgie Montoya of Sarap knocks out. His new restaurant opens in Brixton Village later this year and I’ll be first in the queue.

Where is the most exciting city for hospitality (aside from London)?

Bangkok for me, hands down. The street food is my heaven.

Who would you identify as a rising star?

Elliot Cunningham of Lagom. He’s quietly worked his way up through the kitchens of Barbecoa, Yosma, Smokestak and Pizza Pilgrims – the man knows fire. It’s some of the best BBQ in London right now in my opinion.

This Q&A was first featured in the CODE Careers Bulletin. To subscribe please click here

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