Businessman by day, ‘Chef’ by night.
real food, home cooked, every day.
Hello, and welcome to ‘Dishes with Dale’ by Dale Williams.
I employ a ton of people, It’s hard. I cook at home to escape and unwind. These are my ramblings.
I’ve been immersed in the enjoyment of good food as a way of life as far back as I can remember, and, more recently since somehow cooking my way to a MasterChef Final in 2013. As a hungry and motivated food and drink fanatic I’ve always known that to find my ‘happy place’ I needed to create a way to incorporate the pleasure of being around food into my professional life in some form.
My personal life is dominated by cooking and sharing food both in and out of the house but always, always with my wife, family and friends. I’m never happier, more content or free from everyday stresses than when I’m enjoying a meal with people.
My story into food took a less conventional path than it might have done. I left education prematurely and needed to work, without any money, any qualifications, the rich kids of Beverley hills parents, the bend it like Beckham right foot I so desired, or, that winning lottery ticket I bought on my 16th birthday, and so, it made it difficult for a then 17 year old to know what route to take.
I wasn’t wired for the regiments of school, the order, the discipline. Despite having gained A/S Levels and a bright and logical mind I just never wanted to pursue University, that wasn’t quick enough for me, for my ambitions. Managing boredom is among my biggest personal challenges and that can be very trying when you need to knuckle down and focus to achieve what you believe you are capable of.
But knuckle down I did and through little more than grit, determination and a motivation for freedom (or not having a boss!), I went on to create, open and establish a recruitment business at the tender age of 23, which, to this day remains a huge part of my life. I wrapped up my first properties in my early twenties and have worked hard with incredible people to pursue security. I live it in the fast lane and have a thriving business, the odd entrepreneur award for my contribution to the economy, a tight knit team of much loved employees and something that I’ve built that I can put my name to, something that I can be proud of.
Sorry, back to food! I’ve always known that food needed to be in my life, but where do you start when you’re life is dominated by something else? My problem is a common one, time, the day job, bills, you can feel trapped. Time, we simply don’t have enough of it, or, maybe we don’t make enough time for the things that matter? In my case, being MD of a company means spare time is a little less available than the rarest of Pokemon, but…I do find the time, somehow.
That’s where my food story continues…
It was late 2012 and I had been running my business for just over 3 years at the time, it gave me heaps of pride and satisfaction, but something was and always had been missing. I just never got to spend as much time around food as my heart desired, I felt unfulfilled.
So, In 2013 I applied for MasterChef and made it through to Series 9 as a contestant. My entry dish was a game terrine with pickled radishes, walnut bread and a mulled cider sauce. This is the actual entry (a dish which I have since refined but it was tasty as, nonetheless)
Unfortunately (for me and the banter bus), I let my guard down and cried on national TV (which my mates loved!) yep, I’m that guy, cheers Marcus (“.) But the thing is, it just meant that much to me to be there, as a fan, and as a food fanatic, I can’t contextualise how much it meant to me to do my family proud. This was all the drive I needed and the fear of failure was all consuming. I had never cooked anything outside of my own kitchen before, had a grand total of zero hours professional training, and, other than my very own super mum showing me the ropes, I was a complete novice. But, through a mixture of pretty decent dishes I reached the final 3 of MasterChef in one of the hottest contested finals of all time.
During my time on MasterChef (possibly to my detriment at times!), I was clear, (both then, and now) that I simply never wanted to be a professional Chef in a full time career capacity. So many people would, and do, ask why? To them it’s like I’m wasting the talent that got me there? But It’s simple really, it’s because I know who I am. I can’t do what those exceptional human beings do, plain and simple. It’s not that I can’t cook the food, I do that every day at home. No, it’s the painstakingly, all in, hands down, heads up side of the career that consumes your life, and the lives of those closest to you, that keeps me from diving in. The reality is that I simply enjoy spending my evenings and weekends cooking, eating and socialising with loved ones too much to give it up.
Despite all of this, I can seriously cook. I know food, I know how to cook, present, taste but most of all enjoy not just the food, but the experience, the theatre of gastronomy. I come from a place of knowledge and not of aimless opinion.
Since MasterChef finished I’ve published a cook book, filmed a TV series, expanded my skills, travelled extensively across the globe and generally just researched and experienced food more. I still own and run my Recruitment company and I’ve gone through the inexplicable pain of opening a restaurant concept (and subsequently selling my stake) but generally I’ve just enjoyed finding my place in gastronomy so that I can find a way to add something valuable to the pot. And this is me;
real food, home cooked, every day.
My Blog is all about helping people find a way to keep food important when our days are spent in the fast lane. It’s about finding and making more time, to enjoy proper food in proper places, and at home. Whether you’re an entrepreneur who eats restaurant to restaurant, a working super mum juggling the world, a student on a shoestring or a couple needing kitchen inspiration, the Dishes with Dale recipe blog is designed with you in mind.
You’ll find tips, tricks and chef hacks for restaurant quality meals at home that don’t break the bank and home cooking recipes for all occasions.
I hope you enjoy and thank you for cooking.