He's the top chef who has fed royalty, appeared on the BBC and worked in some of London's finest Michelin starred restaurants

Andrew Du Bourg, Chef-Patron at The Elderflower in Lymington talks The King and New Forest strawberries in our meet the chef column. 

What first inspired you to become a chef?

"Growing up I had aspirations of being a footballer, but reality hit when I was 16 and the only contract that came my way was from my local town team. It was my mother who suggested that I think about cooking, as I seemed to enjoy it at home. Two chefs that caught my eye were a young James Martin on Ready Steady Cook and Jamie Oliver. This guy made cooking look cool!"

Daily Echo: Andrew Du Bourg, Chef-Patron at The Elderflower in Lymington

Tell us a bit about your career so far…?

"I trained at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. My sponsor was the Goring Hotel. I spent four years working there whilst completing my course. I was hungry for knowledge and on my days off would go and work for the hotel's fishmongers at Billingsgate, finishing service on a Friday night and working through the night, learning to fillet fish. I also used to help at Clarence House when HRH King Charles was entertaining.

"I went on to work at The Wolseley, then The Square (2 Michelin star) where I would work my way up to pastry chef.

"I then went back to the Wolseley group to work at St Alban, then to Club Gascon (1 Michelin star). This would be my first Head Chef position and also where I met my wife, Marjolaine. It was love over the hot cupboard!

"We decided we wanted to start a family and I took the position of Head Chef at Chewton Glen.

"I then opened my own restaurant in March 2014."

Daily Echo: Inside The Elderflower in Lymington

What is your proudest career moment to date?

"Receiving and maintaining our 3AA rosettes. Also being featured on the BBC's Remarkable Places To Eat."

What is your signature dish?

"There have been some dishes that have captured our heart over the years, like our famous Close But No Cigar coffee and chocolate dessert."

Daily Echo: Close But No Cigar is on the menu at The Elderflower

What is your favourite meal to cook at home?

"I love cooking outdoors. I bought myself an Argentinian barbecue and love cooking freshly caught fish on it."

What is your culinary guilty pleasure?

"Cheese! I love it. Cheeky snack or sharing a cheese board with friends and family."

Which key ingredient is always in your fridge?

Daily Echo: A dish created by Andrew at The Elderflower in Lymington

"Eggs. So versatile."

What is your favourite Hampshire delicacy?

"New Forest strawberries. Great flavour and size."

What’s your career ambition?

"To own my own restaurant. Completed. To become a Michelin star chef. Work in progress."

Daily Echo: A dish served up by Andrew at The Elderflower