Ian Jackson, head chef at the George and Dragon, Clifton

Essential Ingredients

I change the menu seasonally but take great care and time to ensure that all dishes are sustainable for a three month period, working very closely with local suppliers to ensure that we receive the best produce available.

First kitchen worked in

The first kitchen I worked in was Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel, on Ullswater, where I was commis chef.

First dish I prepared

I think the first dish I prepared must have been a soup of some kind - probably a vegetable soup at college.

Signature dish

One of the 'signature' dishes I have prepared during the past 12 months is a chateaubriand in a shallot and red wine reduction with gratin dauphinoise, shallots, pancetta and fine beans. The other was pan fried pork loin steak with caramelised apple, onions, thyme, glazed with smoked cheese and served with sauté potatoes, pak choi and wholegrain mustard sauce.

Food philosophy

At the George and Dragon I’m in a unique situation where I’m able to use produce from the Lowther Estate including Shorthorn Beef, Rare Breed Saddleback, Gloucester Old Spot Pork, goat and Poulet Anglais. There are also fruit and vegetables from the Estate’s extensive kitchen garden, vegetable gardens and orchards throughout the year. I think having a deep understanding of the seasons and the local ecosystem is really important. My approach is to use my own interpretation in order to create modern British dishes with classical French influences. My work ethic is that you should always try to be the best in your field. I relentlessly analyse my dishes and the take on the feedback received from our diners as I always believe I can do better!

Biggest kitchen disaster

My biggest disaster was when I burned a veal stock reduction which took 48 hours to make!

My favourite chef

There are a few but they include Mark Hix, Tom Kerridge and Jamie Oliver.

My biggest influence

My inspiration comes from my classical training. Originally from Barrow, I am passionate about food and wanted to be a chef from around the age of 14. I studied at Kendal College where I received both the Student of the Year Award and the prestigious Bob McGee Award, which won me a three month scholarship in Norway. I initially went on to train under the watchful eyes of Michelin-starred chefs Francis Coulsen at Sharrow Bay, Ullswater, John Burton-Race at L’Ortalan, Reading, and Billy Drabble at Michael’s Nook, Grasmere.

My favourite meal

This would probably be a classic fish and chips with mushy peas plus bread and butter.