He's the highly-regarded chef who won praise from three Michelin star celebrity chef Marco Pierre White. 

Vince Kundev, head chef at The Duke on the Test, talks Bulgarian cuisine and Test trout in our weekly meet the chef column. 

What first inspired you to become a chef?

I graduated with cooking experience, but never thought I would end up in a kitchen! I went on a student exchange program in America and got a job in the kitchen of a very busy restaurant. I liked the intensity and decided to continue developing as a chef.

What was the first meal you cooked for someone else?

A simple dish for my friends called mishmash

Tell us a bit about your career so far…?

I worked in a few places in Williamsburg in Virginia, USA and opened a new restaurant there. When I went back to Bulgaria I spent a year in an Italian restaurant then three seasons in 4 and 5 Star hotels at the Bulgarian seaside. Back to my hometown Plovdiv, I tried most of the famous restaurants and hotels. I decided to come to England and joined the Rockingham Arms team in West Wellow where I spent six years until I was offered my current position when The Duke on the Test opened. 

Daily Echo: Vinny and some of his team with Marco Pierre White

What is your proudest career moment?

Cooking for Marco Pierre White was an exciting and unforgettable experience for the whole team. I have always looked up to him, so it was a dream come true to meet him. He didn’t disappoint, and was genuine and charming.

What is your favourite dish currently on your menu?

Red lentil dahl with paneer and cauliflower cous cous, I can easily finish a big bowl. Also, the Beef Bourguignon is lovely.

Daily Echo: Beef Bourguignon with Mushrooms Bacon and Shallots and Creamy Mash

What is your favourite meal to cook at home?

My wife is the chef at home and cooks a lot of different delicious dishes from the Bulgarian cuisine. I love forest mushrooms or any cut of lamb.

What is your favourite Hampshire ingredient?

Hampshire has got so much to offer. Chalk stream trout which has been on the menu since we opened is two minutes away and so fresh and tasty.

Which chef do you most admire?

Alex Aitken. Self- taught and has achieved so much in his career.

What’s your career ambition?

Hopefully opening my own restaurant one day

Daily Echo: The Duke on the Test, near Romsey