Andrew Taylor Gray is head chef at The Royal, a gastro pub which was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for exceptional food at a moderate price, in St Leonards on Sea where he uses local, seasonal ingredients to create dishes incorporating classic favour combinations

When did you first become interested in cooking?

My grandmother was a great farmhouse cook who made three meals a day with whatever came from the land - fish, game. vegetables, the works. My mother and aunties carried on her style of cooking which is something I have always been around.

How did you get started as a chef?

I moved from Scotland to London in 2010 and trained as a butcher. A good friend passed on my details to Mark Hix’s restaurant HIX and I started working there as a commis chef.

What is your signature dish?

I wouldn’t say I have one but I love cooking fresh fish, shellfish and anything quick and healthy.

If there was anyone in the world you could cook for, who would it be?

My family. We’re all spread across the country now, and there is nothing better than everyone I love around the same table.

What do you eat at home? Do you do the cooking?

My wife and I try to eat a lot of vegetables and fish. Smoked haddock, with herbs, cream and potatoes is a favourite.

Great British Life: Dishes are created from local, seasonal ingredients. (c) Saltwick.Dishes are created from local, seasonal ingredients. (c) Saltwick. (Image: The Royal)

What is the kitchen ingredient no one should be without?

It has to be salt followed closely by good French butter.

If you could dine at any restaurant in the world where would it be?

I would love to go back to Singapore and eat from the Hawker Markets. I spent some time living there and I’ll never forget the flavours.

What would you eat for your last meal?

Roast chicken, oatmeal stuffing, all the veg, and mustard with mashed and roasted potatoes.

Favourite music to cook by?

The Last Waltz, The Band

What do you do to relax outside of the kitchen?

Walking, eating, golf and music. Most of which, but not quite all, can be combined!

Who is your culinary hero?

My grandmother and my mum. Their cooking was all based around the same idea: eat it when it’s at it’s best and look after it – save and store things up for later - when there’s too much to eat. Very Scottish.