I’VE spent most of my young life surviving on beans on burned toast, undercooked chips and strange scrambled egg concoctions that were supposed to be light french omelettes.

After 20 years of kitchen disasters, and a horrible incident with a turkey that I don’t like to talk about, I think I have reached the point where I can attempt most recipes and be confident that they will turn out well, or at least not poison those I love.

But a visit to Mung Mee Thai restaurant in Lancaster, still highlights the vast gap between my cooking and a professional.

Sitting on a high backed wooden chair, next to red and gold tapestries and Eastern wall hangings, I order Tom Yam Gung – a hot and spicy soup with prawns.

It tastes fresh and clean - like some sort of mouthwash for the soul – and I am already aware of my culinary defeat.

I move on to my main course of Pla Neung King, a large steaming plate of cod, covered with fresh ginger and Thai herbs and placed next to spicy chilli, lemon sauces.

I give up gracefully and pay my £20. If these choices aren’t enough to prove my inadequacies, there is plenty more evidence of superior cooking on the menu, from Thai green curry to quirky noodle dishes, vegetarian foods and a specials board.

The atmosphere is friendly, and quite informal, with extremely polite staff dressed in purple silks with glittering threads.

Thai music plays in the background, creating a subdued atmosphere – the only guests who don’t seem relaxed by the songs are the lobsters and crabs, sitting nervously in the tank by the kitchen, trying to look inconspicuous.

As an excuse to stay for a little longer, I order Jasmine tea and watch the chef, working in the kitchen.

He is the reason this restaurant is popular, because although you can buy the ingredients next door you will never recreate the same tastes at home.