Steven Doherty, chef and proprietor of The First Floor Café in Lakeland, Windermere

Essential Ingredients: Anything in season, salt and pepper, sugar, oil, butter and garlic.

First kitchen worked in: This was in The Savoy Hotel from 1976 to 1978 as a commis chef.

First dish I prepared: Fillet of beef stroganoff with pilaf rice (still one of my all-time favourites).

Signature dish: Twice-baked cheese soufflé with creamy leeks and wild mushrooms. It's an adaptation of the famous Soufflé Suissesse that still features on Le Gavroche menu after nearly 50 years!

Food philosophy: Only ever use seasonal ingredients. Foraging may be fashionable at the moment but it is of course, based on the seasons. Menus need to be built around seasonality for reasons such as cost, availability and flavour, so they may feature soft fruits in the summer and root vegetables in the winter. It is also important to understand what your customer wants, not just what you fancy cooking.

Biggest kitchen disaster: Never had a true kitchen disaster but I have sailed very close to the wind! I cooked a charity dinner once at Crosthwaite School for 90 people with one oven and one stove and just made it but I had to get creative to pull it off.

My favourite chef: If I was forced to choose then it would be Michel Roux Jnr whom I have known for 37 years. We worked together at Le Gavroche, both in the pastry. He has managed very successfully to steer Le Gavroche into the modern era, not easy as there are so many amazing places to eat. And he is such an unassuming, warm and generous human being.

My biggest influence: It is, of course, Albert Roux and the Roux Family. Under Albert’s guidance he took a green 20 year old and in five years moulded me and instilled in me the confidence and ability to help Le Gavroche win three Michelin stars as well as maintain this illustrious accolade while in the position of head chef. The mind-set behind those achievements never left me and I still apply them to this day. I must also include the late, great, Alain Chapel, whose restaurant near Lyon I worked at for two years. Albert sent me over there to hone my skills that helped me later on at Le Gavroche.

My favourite meal: It is a toss-up between fish and chips just out of the fryer, cooked in dripping and liberally sprinkled with salt and vinegar, or a Sunday roast of free-range chicken, washed down with a glass of great local beer or a Rhone red.