Scott Fairweather - Head chef, the Punch Bowl at Crosthwaite

Lancashire Life quizzes one of the region's bright young culinary stars

Name: Scott Fairweather

Age: 22

Job: Head chef, the Punch Bowl at Crosthwaite, since January, cooking up to 140 meals a day with a full-time team of seven.

Early infnfluences: I was born in Nether Kellet near Carnforth and my grandma really taught me all the basics when I was growing up. Then I started working in kitchens to earn some money while I was doing my A-levels. I ended up working just about every night and became a bit obsessed with cooking. After leaving Ripley St Thomas School in Lancaster I went to Lancaster and Morecambe College.

First job: It was at the Redwell at Arkholme. I learned a lot there and, strangely, the head chef from those days is now coming to work for me at the Punch Bowl.

First meal: I cooked a Thai green curry for the staff at the Redwell. I made the curry paste and everything else from scratch. It was wonderful, I was really pleased with it.

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How did you become head chef at the Punch Bowl? I was working on a contract at the Plough at Lupton, which is owned by the same company. On the day I started looking for another job, the boss came up to me, we started chatting about my future and he ended up offering me the position as head chef here. It’s a massive job, especially when you are 22. There were guys already here with much more experience and, to be honest, I learned a lot watching them. It could have been awkward but they’ve been really good to me.’

Achievements: I won Cumbria Young Chef of the Year, but I didn’t win the north west final and I’m a really sore loser! I’ve also been involved in a lot of demonstrations and events and I get asked back so I must be doing something right.

Spare time: Do you mean the half day I get off every week! I usually take my girlfriend out for a meal, but I’m a sad 22-year-old. This isn’t a job – it’s a life. I might be nuts but it’s my name up there every time people come in here to eat. No matter how exhausted you are, good feedback makes it all worthwhile.

Advice to others starting out: Even when you hit your lowest point, never give up. You will get your big chance.

Scott Fairweather is head chef at the award-winning Punch Bowl at Crosthwaite, Lyth Valley, LA8 8HR. Tel: 015395 68237.

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