Daily Echo:

FOR Phil Yeomans his love of cooking began when he was a child with holidays to France.

The head chef at Lainston House in Sparsholt took up cooking when his father would take him to the capital of cuisine every year and he discovered he had a talent for cooking crepes.

Then the 32-year-old from Overton spent his summer holidays working in a kitchen and his passion for cooking was nurtured, and before long, he was studying at the luxury 17th-century country house, where he is now head chef.

“My first introduction to Lainston House was in 1999, when under the brilliant tuition of my mentor Andy Mckenzie, executive chef at Lainston House, I was invited to come and do a “stage” as part of his college course,” he said.

It wasn’t long before he was working in kitchens in some of the world’s most exclusive restaurants and becoming the master of a kitchen at only 23.

“I then began my journey of gaining invaluable experience in some of the top restaurants in London at the time, namely The Dorchester, Harvey Nichols and Soho House, before moving on to some exciting challenges in five-star properties in both the USA and Bermuda, where I become a head chef.

“After returning to the UK in 2005 Lainston House was soon knocking on my door to tempt me back and I have been lucky enough to hold the position of head chef at The Avenue restaurant for the past seven years, where we have seen the menu going from strength to strength and evolving to what it is today.”

The former deputy head boy at Testbourne Community School in Whitchurch said the best thing about his job is “making people happy bycooking for them and receiving great feedback. There are no negatives, you have to love to cook or you won’t survive a tough job”.

But he added that he is always determined to try to cook the perfect fish course. “I love cooking fish. There’s a fine line between a great cooked piece of fish and over cooking,.

When I’m out dining it’s not very often you receive a perfect piece of fish.”

Phil’s puts his success in the kitchen down to some sage words: “Keeping my head down, doing as I was told by my chefs and a lot of hard work,” he said adding that he works with fresh, local produce.

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