Stephen Parsons, head chef at the Inn at Brough

Essential Ingredients: The list is endless. Local, seasonal, good quality produce is essential, especially when you are surrounded by it everywhere you go in Cumbria. Other than that fresh herbs are a must, especially if they are home grown.

First kitchen worked in: I started out at the age of 12 cooking with my dad in the summer holidays. As a professional chef my first position was at the Westmorland Hotel on the M6 which is mainly a large volume conference and banqueting hotel.

First Dish I Prepared: I can’t remember what it was but I'm almost positive it would have been whatever my dad was doing at the time. I think at the time assiettes were quite popular and I remember a chocolate one I had trouble with. It was a dark chocolate marquise, white chocolate ice cream, chocolate tuille and I think a chocolate milkshake. Every time I did it I’d get another element wrong but when I finally cracked it the result was great.

Signature Dish: I don’t really have one but I have a tendency taking the idea behind something classic and making it my own by using what’s in season. A prime example is the chicken club sandwich. I water bathe the chicken to keep it moist, oven dry tomatoes and serve with crisp pancetta, baby gem, fondant potato, deep fried mayonnaise and chicken jus.

Food philosophy:

You never know enough to stop learning, keep dishes simple, but full of flavour and colour, cook for customers and not your ego and cook from your heart using your own palette.

Biggest kitchen disaster:

A moment I will never forget is when a chef once poured four cans of condensed milk into an empty pan on a high flame, put a lid on it and left it. Half an hour later… BANG! Toffee everywhere.

Favourite chef:

All the big Michelin heavy weights: Massimo Bottura, Alain Ducasse, Ferran Adriac, Heston Blumenthal, Francis Mallmann, Nathan Outlaw, Zat Baines, Tom Aithens and finally Simon Rogan.

Biggest Influence:

My dad who has amassed vast amount of food awards over the last 20 years. He initiated my approach and outlook to cooking. Another major influence who deserves a mention is Ashley Whittker from Temple Sowerby who opened my mind to what you can do if you think outside of the box.

Favourite Meal:

It definitely has to be something I cook with my daughter Mia, 7. It simply doesn’t matter what we cook, it’s the fact we cook together and she thoroughly enjoys it.