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Clad in black leather and careering to a halt on his fabulous motorbike may not be the conventional way for one of the country’s best young chefs to turn up for a cookery demonstration! However, in no time at all Steven Walpole switches his engaging smile into gear, dons his professional attire and soon charms his audience with his energetic personality and wonderful cooking skills . . . more info

Chef Steven WalpoleaQ: Whom do you most admire for their achievements?

A: Sounds odd for me to say this, as he was an old college buddy, but Jamie Oliver. Think what he has done with the 15 foundation and training, brilliant. It's nice to see someone trying to help people have a second chance. Also with how he has helped the campaign for school dinners

Q: Who is your favourite chef?

A: Georgio Locatelli - the mans passion for ingredients and simple good food is inspiring

Q: With whom would you most like to have dinner?

A: Chef would be Charlie Trotter as I think the man is an exceptional chef and from one meal with him I would learn so much. If not then David Attenborough - he is just a legend and intrigues me with his work.

Q: What would be your desert island disk?

A: I predict a riot by the Kaiser Chiefs sums up some kitchen services I have had as a chef

Q: What is your favourite British food?

A: A Sunday roast. It does not matter what meat or poultry as long as it's British and with a whole selection of seasonal vegetables. Or Cullen Skink, smoked haddock soup, it's charming.

Q: What is your favourite Italian food?

A: Gnocchi Sardi, potato gnocchi with smoked ricotta, baby spinach and bottarga. Sardinia for me is a lovely place and it's the play ground for Italians - it's there holiday destination. This dish just uses local ingredients and the marriage of the cheese, fish roe and the gnocchi with olive oil and ripe plum tomatoes is just heaven.

Q: What is your favourite French food?

A: Cassoulet with confit duck leg - great dish. Can't beat Toulouse Sausage again a very classic and regional dish, it's the most high class comfort food for me.

Q: What is your favourite World food?

A: Greek meze - love all the different textures, flavours, the simplicity of the dishes. Almost peasant food but just well made. Not talking commercial here talking restaurants where if the Greek people are eating there then that's the one for me.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: The fact that you can learn something new everyday and it's a place to really indulge my passion for food. Teaching is also great, seeing trainees learning and being enthused by what they are learning puts a big smile on my face.

Q: How would you describe eating in the UK to someone who's never visited it?

A: You can get your home cooking or cuisine as well as food from around the world all more or less on your door step, especially in London. But if it's British food you're after then be prepared for large portions but good homely cooking.

Q: Do you think food in the UK has changed for the better since the days of Duck with Orange and huge helpings of Black Forest Gateau?

A: I believe we have become a lot more conscious about food and what we eat. Food has evolved so much in this country. We now have more choice and people are actually now trying new foods. We now have a different idea about what quality and good food is.

Q: What's the best thing about eating in the UK?

A: The cosmopolitan array of foods in this country. You can find every type of cuisine for more or less every nationality.

Q: And the worst?

A: Lack of seasonality, consistence of quality and the shortage of British ingredients and dishes on menus. We as a nation have some great products and classic dishes but we tend to shy away from them.

Q: At what sort of place do you regularly go to eat?

A: Tend to try and find little hidden restaurants that just serve good food. Food that is cooked perfectly and where the flavours work I will take all day long over, trendy places that everybody goes to but if it's too busy quality can suffer.

Q: Would you like to live and work somewhere other than the UK and if so where and why?

A: Truthfully I am a real home boy and there are many great areas to visit and learn from food wise. But if it came to it I would love to spend time in Hong Kong or Singapore with their culture, markets and food - would be a great learning curve.

Q: What's your favourite food?

A: Offal has to be my favourite. Everything from stuffed hearts to kidney turbago to tripe. If it's on a menu then I will always order a dish. Think it's down to being a kid and my mother buying these items as they were better for you with iron and protein but also they were cheap as no one really brought them. Remember kid's faces when I used to say I was having liver and bacon for dinner!

Q: When did you first get involved in cooking?

A: As a child with my Mum on Sundays, baking cakes and pies for the week or helping with the roast. Also my Nan and Granddad were good cook's who taught me how to make things out of what's in your cupboard - between them they were a great starter in this career. After that it was a Greek family who I worked for as a teenager in their restaurant they taught me about passion for food and the value of front of house as well as the food.

Q: What sort of people have you cooked for during your career? Most memorable or most forgettable?

A: I have cooked for just about every type of person, sports persons like Nasim Hamed to MPs to TV and film stars. Most memorable would be a special dinner for Nelson Mandela. The man is the most humble person I have ever seen.

Worst having to make egg white omelettes for certain film stars as they were on some strange diet and it took about six attempts to even get each one right. My arms were like Popeye's for about three days after all that . . . for the sake of their ego's!

Chef Steven Walpole Chef Steven Walpole Chef Steven Walpole

Q: Do you ever have regrets that you chose to become a chef?

A: No never, no matter how busy or tired I get I always enjoy what I do. This is not just a career it's a passion and something I truly love. I would rather be happy in what I do than do something I am not comfortable in.

Q: What do you think you would have been if you had not become a chef?

A: Well, my other passion is motorbikes so I would have gone into racing or a mechanic - bit different but you can still get your hands dirty and get involved.

Q: What would be your advice to someone who is thinking of training to be a chef?

A: Think long and hard about what you actually want to do as to be a good chef takes a lot of time and commitment. It's unsociable hours at times and can be long days but the job satisfaction can be a great reward. It's amazing how much respect people now have for a person in a chef's jacket. It's a career to be proud of.

Q: The career of one famous chef only came about because his professional football career came to an early close through injury, and one chef's plans to open a restaurant never happened when he became football manager of Aberdeen and later Manchester United. Has fate ever played a part in your career?

A: Well, only the fact that when I applied to the Houses of Parliament I originally was going to the Lords but there was a mix up and I ended up at the Commons. Here I met David Dorricott who pushed me on to achieve more and do competitions and gave me the drive to want to be a good chef. Not saying I would not have got that in the Lords but I feel I was supposed to go to the Commons.

To find out more about Valentina Harris visit www.celebritychefsuk.com

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