Bogdan ‘Danny’ Nicoriciu tells us about his culinary experiences and inspiration

What is your earliest food memory?

One of my finest early food memories was when, from the age of 10 years old, I would go to my grandparents on summer school holidays. Next door, my uncle had his own bakery; he was a baker by profession. I still vividly remember how I would go in to help around the bakery early in the morning, around 5am. I just loved working with the dough and, of course, eating the fresh bread straight out of the oven. That memory from those times I will never forget.

How would you describe your approach to food?

Well, my approach to food is a simple one. I let the dish decide and take me to the finish line. I cook with passion first and with the freshest ingredients possible, and, of course, we use various techniques.

Who’s your food hero, a chef who inspired you?

This is a simple one: Raymond Blanc, with whom I have an unexplained connection when I watch him cook. And if I may mention another, Marco Pierre White, an all-time favourite. But, of course, I do admire all the chefs for pursuing this profession.

A memorable cooking experience?

Of course, there are a few, but one I do remember is when I was working as a head chef in London, Canary Wharf, right on the River Thames. We had the famous ship Gothebog of Sweden moored in for two weeks, and we provided breakfast and dinner for the crew, around 50 members. It was a great experience to have a taste of life on this vessel.

Your favourite dish on the menu?

A great dish I do recommend is our River Fowey mussels cooked with chorizo in local cider, shallots, garlic, capers, herbs, and cream sauce. Simply stunning. However, there is a great selection for everyone.

A favourite dining spot in Devon?

Devon offers a great choice of restaurants, but, in particular, I do enjoy Indian cuisine very much. A favourite spot to eat in or take away is Mahabarat Restaurant in Kingsbridge.

What do you love most about Devon?

Devon has a lot to offer for a chef, from fishermen with the freshest catch of the day to farmers with organic vegetables and free-range meats, to vineyards with quality wines, and I could go on and on. But Devon also offers the perfect balance to unwind after a week's work and recharge for the next busy week. To mention a few, the River Dart, superb beaches, and so many coastal walks. What more could you ask for?

A downtime/go-to meal you like to cook/eat at home?

I always cook at home, even when time is limited, and a quick dish we enjoy very much is quick and easy to put together-a selection of specialty fresh mushrooms from Forest Fungi, a home-grown organic mushroom farm in Dawlish that produces some of the most sought after throughout the county. I sauté the mushrooms in olive oil with garlic, finish with fresh parsley, and serve on toasted sourdough bread. Simplicity at its best. And of course, I can add some seared scallops or grilled streaky smoked bacon, and now I have a dish fit for a king. I always say that doing something you’re passionate about is the key to enjoyment in a job.