Essential ingredients: The initial ingredients are vital to the success of the dish, so fresh as possible – and ideally local, home grown is fantastic! Seasoning is also high on the agenda, so salt, pepper and sometimes lemon juice is good at lifting out flavours.

Good seasoning should be undetectable to taste. However, as soon as you can taste salt you have possibly gone too far. Remember you can always add a little more, but you can’t take it way.

First kitchen worked in: Mum and Dad had a bed and breakfast with the farm in Mungrisdale, which also included evening meals so it was all hands on deck.

The first professional kitchen was on Fridays at Penrith Hospital while I was on industrial works experience from Carlisle College. One of the duties was preparing fish and chips for Meals on Wheels.

First dish I prepared: When I was a kid I used to make chicken with tarragon sauce which I thought was really out there. It had French mustard and tarragon vinegar in it and the family liked it, even though it was a leap away from the mince and tatties we often have.

Signature dish: I don’t really have one as such, but one of my favourite dishes is hand-dived scallops with asparagus - only when in season - with a lemongrass scallop veloute.

Food philosophy: Keep it simple, look to enhance the flavour rather than mask it and always buy good ingredients.

Biggest food disaster: I wish I could say it was in the distant past, but a few months ago I made some chocolate muffins and thought I would tweak the recipe by adding more chocolate chips and using dark muscavado sugar.

They looked good, but they were a total disaster and tasted like wallpaper paste according to one so-called mate! But they say you learn from your mistakes - especially if it’s an expensive one.

My favourite chef: There are loads of good chefs around, but for me it has to be working with and learning from the late Juan Martin, our last head chef at Sharrow Bay. He was extremely talented and was great at using tougher cuts like pig’s trotters and making them taste awesome.

We have recently been working on a special new lunch menu for August combining dishes from our menus going back to 1965, so it has been fascinating to see how styles and tastes have changed over the years.

Biggest influence: At school I wanted to become a fighter pilot but soon realised it was a pipe dream. When I was still at school I got a weekend job at the local pub washing up. My boss soon got me involved with cooking and food preparation. She says I kept asking questions and showing an interest and from there it grew.

My favourite meal: It has to be a steak sandwich with caramelised onions. French bread is essential, and the sirloin steak must be rare.