Daniel McDonald (10 Jul 1986 - 23 Sep 2022)

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York Crematorium Bishopthorpe York YO23 2QD
11th Oct 2022
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On the 10th of July 1986, Daniel was born in York to Lorraine and Chris, joined two years later by his younger brother Jonathan. Who he loved and protected. Hyperactive in his toddler years, Daniel would kiss you one minute and then nip you and run away the next. A rascal!

In the great and friendly environment of Stamford Bridge, the school and the local football team were where his group of friends grew up together.

He was always known in the team as COCKER as in cocker spaniel, Daniel, however, when he was playing he became CROCKER …. anything above ground was fair game!

Remarkably, Daniel was a keen member of the school choir, given that his Dad said he couldn’t hold a tune in a bucket! …but many trips and recordings with the choir proved his dad wrong!

Even at an early age, Daniel’s attention to detail in food was apparent … in primary school, the dinner lady said she had never seen someone so serious about choosing a pudding!!! … more of his love for food later.

At his first parent's review at Stamford Bridge, his teacher said she didn’t know what he would be, but her first thoughts were, either a politician or a crook, some would say it’s the same thing! … but she did say that he was a leader, and so it proved!

To Daniel’s regret and his family, his dad moved the family back to Scotland, pursuing a career move, that, whilst successful, caused a major upset in Daniels's life. However, looking at his many friends from Stirling attending the ceremony in spirit and person, it was not all bad.

He would start to show his real love for cooking at this time, his mum would come home from work to find Daniel in the kitchen cooking pasta for his friends … experimenting with ingredients … making different flavours and dishes.

As usual for teenagers … he was always up for new adventures, he loved skating, both road and ice …. causing his parents many worrying times, especially in summer careering into the estate, stripped to the waist in jeans and skates.

However, as stated, he made good friends, many here today… and his parents also made friends for life, many also here today to pay tribute to him. We thank them all.

Back to Daniel, during his mid-teens, he took on a part-time job as a pot washer in an Italian restaurant … he realised that, even though he was a gifted pupil, he wanted to embark on a working career.

Given his flare for the artistic side of life, he took badly to his father's suggestion that he could get him a job as an apprentice welder! … “you don’t really know me dad” … do you?

With that, he moved onto the hospitality trade, from pot washer to pizza chef, his dad always remembers students coming into the restaurant late one evening and asking for Hawaiian pizza, without the ham … Daniel said ..” you want a pineapple pizza?!!

… and so he moved on and decided that to achieve his aspirations, he needed to gain the necessary and relevant qualifications. Starting first at Glasgow Food Tech and then onto a two-year full-time HND course at Forth Valley college.

The tutors already saw the potential in his skill set and nominated him to be part of the college team to take part in a UK-wide competition at the Excel Centre in London, they did not win, but the die was cast!

He was chosen to be the lead of one team in the college equivalent of the “Hells Kitchen” charity team event. After successfully completing the college course and gaining his HND … he announced that having spent twelve years in Yorkshire … he wasn’t going to spend the same amount of time in Scotland.

He said to Lorraine and Chris … “I was confused … the family were all Scottish … now I’m in Stirling I didn’t know if I’m Scottish or English … now I know,
I’m bloody English!

So, with that, off he went on his many travels, a winter season in Saint Anton in Austria.

He returned to Stirling and within weeks realised he needed to move on again, so a summer season in Jersey at L’ Horizon hotel awaited. He developed further his skills and over the season had only great reviews of his cooking.

At this time, he met Lori, Dylan's mum, she joined him in Jersey and then on to Lymington in Hampshire to another first-class hotel. All the time Daniel’s skills were improving and he was gaining experience in the business.

They returned to Stirling, Lori was pregnant with Dylan… however Daniel’s heart was elsewhere … they came to York for a visit, Lorraine commented on how happy he looked … “of course I'm Happy … I’m home!”

With that, Daniel and Lori returned permanently to York. Daniel was determined that Dylan would be born in Yorkshire!

He started working in the ‘Blue Bicycle’ … with Rolfey, Lee and Mark. Gaining further experience and skills, again the family thank Rolfey for his attendance and duty as a pallbearer today.

After a period of time, Daniel moved again, “up the ladder” … to Middlethorpe Hall, where the wake will be later today. … the experience gained working with the guys at both restaurants made him a first-class chef.

More importantly, after the period of his divorce… he met and fell madly in love with Rebecca Elizabeth Smith … or just Becky to those who know her!!

It was during this time at Middlethorpe that a real affection and respect/love for the entire brigade was developed, especially for Ash, his ‘boss’ but also his real friend, again, the family thank his attendance here today.

Even after all the great times and experience gained … Daniel realised it was his time at Middlethorpe was coming to an end … Ash was settled, therefore it was he who had to move on…, therefore Daniel and Becky took up the lease on the Bay Tree in Stillington. Bringing their two rabbits, Guinness and Scrumpy and later the daft cat Zeus!

The venture was a family affair … Daniel the main man in the kitchen, his good friend and chef Darren came down to help him.
His dad the pot washer, DIY man and gardener.

His mum, helping Becky at front of house….

Jonathan … well he was just Jonathan!!! … he helped drink the coke and cider!

It was however their dream to get their own place … they set up the restaurant to be a touch above pub grub’ … logical, given their skill set. He and Becky were passionate about his food and would work so hard to prove his reputation and service … sometimes he was on his knees with the effort. His dad was also similarly pushed at the pot-washing section.

Everyone loved his food … his skills were quickly apparent and appreciated in the village and beyond.

After a great start … COVID hit the world! … a real shock to them both.

Getting over the enforced closure of the Bay Tree, he took to helping out the village, making food parcels and meals for the older members of the community and the local school … it was a hard time for many.

He became ‘famous’ for his daily Focaccia bread making, each day he thought of different flavours to add … everyone agreed he was a genius!!! … people ended up taking home his bread for their enjoyment later.

However, Daniel’s real passion was teaching younger chefs in his kitchen and in Middlethorpe … many are here today, and the Facebook messages left for him show the love and respect they all had for him … my big brother, great mentor etc and a great teacher to many!

A short story about getting his dad to chop up chives, Chris thought he was doing great … Daniel looked at the result and said … NO … Ash would sack you for that, make them smaller!!

During the covid period, Daniel and Becky found comfort in an online community group ‘STEREO’ … the group would hold discussions on various issues, music, football, poetry and mental health issues, even after covid, Daniel and Becky continued their ‘shows’ with the aim of supporting each other, both attendees here today in person and via our link are sending their condolences and best wishes to the family.

Having taken the huge decision to ‘walk away from the Bay Tree’ … a decision which was not taken lightly … they took some time off to recover their thoughts and decide on the next steps…

A major downside to Daniel, cooking in a domestic kitchen … was if there were six pots to use … he would use NINE! … A great chef, however, absolutely hopeless at DIY or gardening.

Away from his passion for food, Daniel had this real love of music, as his mum has said in her small tribute … ‘Anything from Slipknot to Sinatra … and he meant it.’ … I’ve got a wide range Dad … he would say.

Daniel was always thinking of unjustified feelings of self-worth, however, as I said earlier, you only need to look at social media at the many comments of ‘inspiration’ made by his friends and colleagues who have made the trip here today to pay their respects, the family we thank them for this.

One particular comment that epitomises people's regard for the man is from his close friend head chef ASH…
“ He was a mammoth of a man, an incredible Chef, a massive heart who would do anything for anyone … His life will shine on all the people who had the pleasure of spending time with him … Taken too soon!

Ash is a truly kind person…

Over the years, Daniel would spend time with his Grandpa Jim, they had their arguments over politics etc, Jimmy was ‘old school’ … Daniel had the more modern view … there were a few heated Brexit arguments, however, he never lost his respect for Jim, a WW2 veteran in the Navy.

One of Jim's most noticeable phrases uttered, just before he left us was to say to Lorraine that “DANIEL is a diamond geezer!!!”

Daniel was also a quiet man … keeping his own counsel, only telling you what he wanted you to know. His grandma Mary would say …
In broad Scottish…
“Daniel wouldn't tell you if he saw a coo wi’ a horses heed”

… a man who kept a lot of his own counsel, sometimes to the detriment of his health, both mentally and physically.

Finally, we come to his great love of life - Dylan. Daniel’s love for Dylan was immense. Dylan had recently spent two weeks in Yorkshire before Daniel’s passing. He had a great time, spending quality time together with the family.

Daniel was given a ‘lucky penny’ from his Grandpa Jim … maybe Daniel had a premonition, but he gave the penny to Dylan … he cherishes it.

So, we bring an end to the potted history of a great man, a complex character, but loving, and loved.

Becky Smith lit a candle
Lee Cooper lit a candle
Angel . lit a candle
Rebecca Smith donated £10 in memory of Daniel

Donated from Stationhead show: Holtzy’s Dance Party episode 100

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