David Moratto-Smith, head baker at The Apple Pie Café and Bakery, Ambleside

Essential Ingredients: Flour. It goes into almost every product we make. On an average busy week we could go through over half a ton of flour! We also use over 1500 eggs a week and would need around 200 chickens to supply us.

First kitchen worked in: My first ever bakery job was in a bakery called Hampsons, part of the Warburton’s group, while I was still studying cooking, baking and cake decoration at college in Bolton. I worked the Friday night shift from 7pm until 5am on the bread plant factory floor.

First dish made: We used to finish college early on a Friday, but I used to stay behind. I would pick a new product that I had never tried before and the college would let me use their ingredients and facilities to have a go at making it. The one that has stuck in my mind was called a Gateau MacMahon, a biscuit base with a strawberry bavarois filling, topped with layers of shortbread and raspberry glaze.

Signature dish: I wouldn’t say I had a signature dish or cake, instead it’s through my cake decorating and marzipan modelling that I like to add my personality to each cake. The first time I ever tried my hand at it, I was hooked.

Food philosophy: Always use good quality ingredients. I also believe a good foundation of knowledge is essential and a basic understanding of the ingredients and the reactions that take place when you mix them together. Once you have this, then you can start to experiment.

Biggest kitchen disaster: My biggest kitchen disaster was making apple pies - funnily enough not at The Apple Pie but at a hotel in Morecambe. I came to prepare the apples and grabbed a chopping board from the kitchen, made and baked the pies and they started going out to customers. It wasn’t until the waiters came back saying the pies tasted of garlic that I realised my mistake…I’d prepared the apples on a kitchen chopping board that had been used to chop garlic. They never let me live that one down! My advice to anyone now…smell your chopping board before you use it!

Favourite chef: I admire anyone who is obviously knowledgeable about cooking and baking, for example the Roux Brothers, Gary Roads and Raymond Blanc. And of course, Mary Berry. She represents what I believe in, that a good basic knowledge is essential and that traditional baking is still important today.

Biggest influences: My teachers from my college years in Bolton and Blackpool. They were old school bakers, some of whom are not around anymore. Working at The Apple Pie has allowed me to pursue my love of craft baking and cake decoration that I discovered in college.

Favourite meal: My favourite pudding is steamed syrup sponge with custard.