Taste Buds meets the Head Chef at the Deer Park Hotel in Honiton
How long have you been at Deer Park?
I have been here for seven months. I am a qualified Master Baker and although I don't follow a particular style, I use fresh seasonal ingredients, some of which come from the Deer Park Kitchen Garden.
Your cooking inspiration?
My focus is to cook from the soul. I believe that good cooking comes from your heart, not from a book.
Must-try dish on your menu?
My must-try dish would be the pan-fried sea trout with crushed peas, pancetta and a parsley foam.
Local produce to eat now?
The best local produce around now is English asparagus and wild garlic, which we grow in the Kitchen Garden. Spring lamb and Cornish whiting are also particularly good at this time of year.
Do you prefer to eat in or eat out?
When I eat out I like to go to River Cottage in Axminster. I really like the ethos that they have about food there and it's a very relaxed atmosphere. When I'm at home I like to cook with my two children; I really want them to understand food and the importance of where it comes from.
Savoury or sweet?
I don't really eat sweet food, however one of my favourite savoury dishes is brioche-crumbed lamb sweetbreads with a gribiche mayonnaise. This is a mayonnaise made with hard-boiled eggs instead of raw, essentially.
Local chef you'd love to meet?
I would really like to meet Michael Caines. I think he is a real chef who spends most of his time in the kitchen with his team creating fantastic new and innovating dishes, and someone who isn't trying to be a celebrity chef.
Top tip for budding chefs?
My top tip for young chefs is to simply be passionate about cooking and food. You should make sure every dish you create has your heart in it and try to learn as much as you can from the people you work with. Everything I know about food I have learnt from fellow chefs, and I continue to learn new things every day.
Favourite kitchen gadget?
I'm not really a fan of gadgets as such; however, we have just bought an electric smoker at the Deer Park, which everyone is having fun with by testing it out and smoking a variety of different produce.
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