Lewtrenchard Manor’s new head chef reveals the Devon restaurant that blew him away and the Scottish breakfast stalwart he’d choose as his desert-island dish
Which kitchen item couldn’t you live without?
My Thermomix. It’s a fantastic bit of kit and totally reliable. I use it for everything from blending to poaching.
What do you listen to in the kitchen?
We always have music on in the background while we’re prepping. The kitchen team take turns to decide what we listen to, so there’s normally a wide range of artists – from Elton to Eminem.
Career highlight to date?
The first time I was in the AA Guide was pretty special. It was back in 2014 when I was head chef at The Close Hotel in Tetbury.
Your most-read recipe book?
I must have read Alinea by Grant Achatz hundreds of times. It’s phenomenal.
One of my favourite recipes from the book is a stuffed buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes, which is amazing every time.
Favourite place to eat out?
One of the best meals I’ve ever had was at Gidleigh Park in Devon when Michael Wignall was head chef. The food was astonishing.
The dish that really stood out for me was actually the vegetarian course. It completely took me by surprise – the flavours were unbelievable.
Best staycation spot?
I fell in love with Looe in Cornwall when I was head chef at Squid Ink there a couple of years ago.
It’s one of the only places I could consider settling down outside of Scotland [David grew up in Falkirk]. The people are so friendly, the produce is incredible and the scenery is beautiful. It’s a lovely part of the world.
Guilty food pleasure?
I try to eat well throughout the day when I’m working but it can be tough when we’re busy.
When I’m at home I cook mostly from scratch. I make my own sourdough so I guess my guilty pleasure would be making sourdough pizzas with the leftover starter.
That’s easy. In Scotland we have a thing called square sausage [a traditional Scottish food made from minced meat, rusk and spices], so it would be a square sausage roll with brown sauce and a glass of Irn-Bru.