David Scarr, head chef at The Barbon Inn, Barbon

Essential ingredients

Fresh garlic, good quality stocks, fresh herbs and locally sourced meat and fish.

First kitchen worked in

The Dalesman Country Inn, at Sedbergh, when I was about 19. I was mainly doing bar work at the time but they were short handed in the kitchen one weekend and I was volunteered to help out. It turned out I really enjoyed it and was keen to do more.

First dish prepared

I can't really remember if I'm honest, but I imagine it would have been a steak and kidney pie or a gammon steak - something like that from the lunch menu.

Signature dish

It's hard to say but one of my favourite dishes has to be belly pork with beetroot puree, caramelised apple and goats cheese dauphinoise. I also think my fillet steak Rossini is a great dish. It can be regarded as quite old fashioned so I've tried to make my version a bit more contemporary. I still top the steak with pate but it's served with a haggis and black pudding fritter, steamed greens, smoked pancetta, Diane sauce and parsnip crisps.

Food philosophy

Keep things simple. Use the best quality ingredients you can and let the flavours speak for themselves. It's too easy to get carried away, over complicate things and confuse the flavours.

Biggest Kitchen disaster

There have been a few! I have found power cuts in the middle of service are interesting to deal with and in terms of food preparation, the first time I used powdered gelatine instead of sheets was a disaster. My panna cottas were so rubbery you could have played tennis with them.

My favourite chef

I have a few that I really like. I was always a massive fan of Heston Blumenthal and the way his food was visually so amazing. I like the Hairy Bikers because they keep things simple and I especially like Rick Stein for his enthusiasm and passion for food.

My biggest influence

The first two head chefs I worked under. Jon Hamilton, the first, taught me to cook and the second, Jason Bright, really helped me with presentation of food and how to run a kitchen. I was really lucky to work with them both as they were so calm under pressure and taught me that shouting and screaming doesn't get the job done any quicker or better.

My favourite meal

If I'm eating out I love duck, sea bass or steak. But really it's my wife's cottage pie.