Martin Dawkin, Head Chef at Westover Hall, Lymington

Martin Dawkin, head chef at Westover Hall Hotel, reveals his passion for local produce and who has inspired him through his cooking career

Which dish on your current menu do you most enjoy preparing and why?Sea bass with Lymington crab and clams. It's a simple dish using our local fresh ingredients. It's also the most popular dish on the menu.Which chef do you most admire?I admire many chefs, especially Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsey and Alan Murchison for their amazing cooking and talents. I also admire Jamie Oliver for what he is achieving with his attempt to change how the younger generation eat.How would you describe your approach to food?Treat ingredients carefully and keep things simple. Let the true flavours show.What local produce do you value most?Our favourite local products are Lymington strawberries and New Forest game.What is your favourite ingredient?Fresh fish, shellfish, truffles, game, foie gras and wild mushrooms.What is your favourite cuisine?Modern British/French.Tempt us with a quick snack we can make at homeSimple creamy wild mushroom, black pudding and smoked bacon on toast.Who did you train under and what did they teach you that you'll never forget?I learnt most from Alex Aitkin at Le Poussin. Simply use the best ingredients available and don'trush cooking, as this will give you better results.What advice would you give to anyone interested in a career in cooking?It's hard work. You need to really want to do it and be very committed. Your social life is obviously limited as the hours are long. Find yourself a good kitchen, work hard and enjoy. It's a great career.Give us a top kitchen or cooking tipAgain, keep things simple, if you're not confident follow a recipe book. If you are, experiment with different flavours.

Book your tableWestover Hall Hotel, Park Lane, Milford on Sea, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 0PTTel. 01590 643044