Head Chef, Ed Fortune, Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort

What inspired you to become a chef?

I used to spend all my student loan eating out at restaurants. When I was looking for a summer job, one of my favourite places to eat was advertising for a Commis Chef. At the timeI had no idea what that meant – the rest is history!

What do you find most satisfying about your work?

Guests appreciating the little touches. I love empty plates and great feedback as well as working with a fantastic team.

And least?

When someone doesn’t appreciate or criticises your food. I feel that we as an industry do not have sufficient right or opportunity to reply.

Is there a chef you particularly admire, and if so why?

I have huge admiration for any chef that has achieved success at the top level. It’s an incredibly challenging job at times, and it’s so easy to take shortcuts so it takes a huge amount of willpower to keep consistently excellent.

Is there any aspect of the contemporary food scene that you find especially irritating?

Too many things on a plate to make the dish look pretty for Instagram that don’t add to the flavour of the dish.

Describe your perfect dining companion or guest.

My wife – she loves food and wine as much as I do,and probably knows more about it than me as well!

Are there any food critics whose opinions you respect, and if so why?

Everyone is a critic and entitled to their opinion. I find Giles Coren very entertaining to read. I used to love reading Michael Winner in the Sunday Times, whether I respected his opinions or not…

What’s the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking your recipes at home?

The chef is the recipe. No two carrots are the same sizeand no two tomatoes are equally ripe. A recipe shouldjust be a guideline, but ultimately, if it doesn’t look right,it probably isn’t!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Always listen to a chef’s recommendation – we are egotistic and want you to have the best possible meal you can.

Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort

Calne, Wiltshire