Matt Mason, chef director at Winslade Manor, tells us about his culinary experiences and inspiration.

What is your earliest food memory?

Dipping homegrown strawberries in sugar on the dining table, I must have been aged six or seven. During summer there was constantly a red stained bowl of sugar on the table. I would sit and read my comic and eat strawberries until my stomach ached.

How would you describe your approach to food?

Simple, sustainable, tasty.

Who's your food hero, a chef who's inspired you?

A young chef in my kitchen who has hearing challenges but despite this has an unwavering dedication to learning his craft - truly inspirational and the joy of learning to communicate through sign language has brought me such joy.

A memorable cooking experience?

Most recently, it’s been cooking with our region's finest chefs here at Winslade. This was a seven course tasting menu for 180 discerning guests in our event space, The Forge. It was a Bollinger-sponsored event for the testimonial year of my rugby heroes, Jack Nowell and Henry Slade.

Your favourite dish on the current menu?

Our set menu in the manor changes regularly to suit the seasons and currently I'm really enjoying a loin of venison, smoked celeriac and a fondant potato dish that we do. It’s got elements of old and new, but truly great produce and ingredients speak for themselves.

A favourite dining out spot in Devon?

My good friend Scott Paton at Boringdon Hall - another inspirational chef and a true gentleman.

What do you love most about Devon?

The people for sure - the friendships run deep. And you will not meet a more proud Devonian than me.

A down-time/go-to meal you like to cook/eat at home?

Just steak, any good quality steak, just big - a bit too big - well seasoned and cooked rare. Maybe with sautéed mushrooms, garlic butter or just strong English mustard. I’m currently back in the gym so protein for the muscle gains!