Doug Gaunt is Head Chef and Proprietor of The Wittering gastropub in West Wittering, which focuses on using seasonal and sustainable produce from the coast to the South Downs

How did you first become interested in cooking?

I have always been interested in food. My maternal grandfather had an amazing allotment when I was young, and we grew up foraging for brambles and gooseberries around it. My grandmother also had a pantry which was like a treasure trove of home baked treats and filled with big preserving jars of pickled onions.

When did you get started as a chef?

I was working as a freelance animator and head barman at the Pitcher & Piano bar in Bristol in 2003, when the head chef asked me if I could help him out one night in the kitchen. Despite all the initial cuts and burns, I loved the thrill of it. I took myself off to a few cooking classes to learn more and it opened the doors to both travel and cooking at the same time. It was only when I moved back to London in 2009 that I became really focused on it and soon accelerated my way through the kitchen ranks.

What is your signature dish?

There is no one signature dish but we have become well known in the area for our ever changing seasonal hand-raised pies and seafood specials. Our focus is that we are ingredient led, seasonal and keep our food waste to the absolute minimum.

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

My family. The dream is always just to have all my family together at one table.

What do you eat at home?

I love to BBQ so when I have the time at home I love to cook over an open fire pit - everything from meat, whole fish, veggies and even the fruit from our garden gets cooked over the pit for dessert. But I'm also a sucker for a cheese and pickle sandwich!

What is the kitchen ingredient no one should be without?

Salt and good butter. I also use a lot of lemon, garlic and fresh herbs from the garden.

What would you order for your last meal?

My wife and I talk a lot about what our deathrow dinner would be. Right now I would like a whole mixed pork BBQ platter with all the pickles, BBQ potatoes and onions. And crème brulée for dessert, just to have that last satisfying crack.

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

It's hard to nail just one. I'd love to go back to Copenhagen and experience Noma as it was closed when I was last there. Also The French Laundry in Napa Valley is on the bucket list as I got to dine and tour the kitchens of both sibling restaurants Per Se and Bouchon Bistro. And L'Enclume in the Lake District.

Favourite music to cook by?

Everything and anything gets a go in the kitchen…I love 90s Britpop, Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I also love a good croon and power ballad session.

Who is your culinary hero?

I'm a big fan of Dan Barber, who I actually got to meet on a trip to Blue Hill in Stone Barns, Pocantico Hill, New York, years ago.

What do you do to relax outside of the kitchen?

I love to walk West Wittering beach with the family, hanging out with my wife and son and foraging wherever possible.

Great British Life: Doug focuses on local, seasonal fresh ingredients.Doug focuses on local, seasonal fresh ingredients. (Image: Ashley Thompson)