Daniel Brierley, head chef at Briery Wood Country House Hotel, Windermere

Essential ingredients

My essential ingredient is salt. Being able to season food correctly is vital. I firmly believe there is absolutely no point in using amazing ingredients and cooking them to perfection if the seasoning is wrong.

First kitchen worked in

The first kitchen I worked in was The Faversham, in Leeds. I worked as a barman and helped my friend in the kitchen during busy periods, eventually transferring to the kitchen full time. My passion for food grew from there.

First dish prepared

The first dish i prepared would probably have been something for my friends like a fish pie or maybe even a Sunday roast.

Signature dish

My signature dish is lemon and thyme pannacotta with raspberries. The flavours really complement each other and people are often surprised that savoury elements work in desserts. I also use tonka beans a lot as the flavour is unique and it can be used in so many ways.

Food philosophy

My approach to cooking is to take the finest ingredients available and use a variety of cooking methods to create dishes that show off the produce to its fullest. Flavour, texture and presentation are all equally important. Everything on the plate needs to add something and be there for a reason. With a degree in microbiology, I have tried to develop a specialist knowledge of the science behind the flavour of food.

Biggest kitchen disaster

I once asked a chef to put a veal stock on and he put an entire fillet of beef into it as he thought it was some left over meet trimming. It was the most expensive veal stock I've ever made!

My favourite chef

I have a few. Michael Wignall's food has always inspired me for one. His attention to detail and presentation are second to none. I also love Tom Kerridge's passion for real pub food, showing that even something simple like steak and chips can be worthy of two Michelin stars.

My biggest influence

Steve Smith who I used to work for at The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa in Bolton Abbey, Bolton for seven years. His use of modern cooking methods and big flavours has had a massive influence on my food and he is someone I can still turn to for advice. Steve always encouraged junior chefs to think of new ideas for dishes and really pushed everyone to be creative.

My favourite meal

I would have to say that fish and chips with curry sauce was my favourite meal. The smell of a fish and chip shop is like nothing else and a good chippy supper is the perfect comfort food.