Stewart Maidstone-Blyth, chef at the Crossing Point Cafe, Kirkby Lonsdale

Essential ingredients

When I am in the kitchen my essential ingredients are rosemary and thyme. But of course let's not forgetting the most important ingredients of all, salt and a bit of pepper.

First kitchen worked in

The first kitchen I ever worked in was the Jarvis Hotel in Gloucester. I started there as a trainee carvery chef and progressed to commis chef. I was lucky enough to win a couple of internal awards while there which was nice. It was a carvery-based restaurant and we used to do some crazy numbers! It was quite an introduction to catering.

First dish I prepared

The first dish I ever prepared was a steak and ale pie. I remember this all too well as I put far too much ale in it and made it the 'booziest' pie in history!

Signature dish

My signature dish is beurre blanc poached cod on a bed of seasonal greens and duchess potatoes. I am a big fan of the classics but I like to experiment to give them a modern twist.

Food philosophy

My food philosophy is to only use the freshest of locally sourced ingredients and to respect nature's harvest. We live in a county with great produce and great suppliers so we are very lucky.

Biggest kitchen disaster

My biggest kitchen disaster happened years ago. I was carrying a turkey out to carve but I tripped over my shoelaces and launched the turkey half way across the restaurant. I have never been so embarrassed in my whole life. And to add insult to injury it was at a wedding but luckily I just missed the bride!

My favourite chef

One of my favourite chefs would have to be Raymond Blanc as he has trained some of the great chefs working in the industry today and has a great technical knowledge. I also greatly admire Heston Blumenthal. This is due to his bravery with ingredients and his ability to draw out flavours and experiment with things we would never normally think of. I would love to spend a day with both of these chefs as learning from such knowledgeable and experienced people would be invaluable.

My biggest influence

My biggest influence would have to be my old head chef Steve Bussey. He is an old school chef with a great knowledge and thankfully for me, very patient! He taught me a lot and helped shape me into the chef I am today.

My favourite meal

For me this would be anything that is Italian. There is really nothing better than a freshly prepared Italian dish.