Chef of the Week: Mark Dodson – Chef Proprietor of The Masons Arms, Knowstone, Devon

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
12 years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills? 
Passion for food came from lots of good home cooking and skills learnt at college (Colchester) and honed at the Waterside Inn, Bray.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef? 
The lifestyle.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without
Vanilla, herbs and veal stock.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without? 
A good sharp knife.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment? 
More and more Asian influence in sharing plates and smaller portions.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down? 
Thinking that it’s going to be easy.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why? 
Autumn, I love all the autumnal flavours cooking with a bit more of a robust style and the game season.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of? 
We have over 12 years built a great repertoire of dishes and I am proud of lots of them, especially the dishes that have been developed with the team.

How do you come up with new dishes? 
Sometimes it involves a lot of thinking but sometimes ideas just come.

Who was your greatest influence? 
My greatest influence is Michel Roux Snr.

Tell us three chefs you admire
Thomas Keller, Pierre Gagnaire and Anne-Sophie Pic.

What is your favourite cookbook? 
The Roux Brothers New Classic Cuisine.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months? 
There are lots of new openings and lots of young chefs pushing up standards, it’s going to be an exciting year ahead.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year? 
Lympstone Manor, another Michelin star for Devon!