WE talk to Tim McDougall, head chef at The Crown at Celtic Manor, a three AA rosette restaurant.

1. How long have you been a chef and where did you train?

I have been a chef for about 15 years. I started cooking at a bistro in Amsterdam, but my real training began at The Vineyard at Stockcross under Billy Reid, who was the first chef to hold a Michelin star there.

I was in my late twenties at the time and on very little money but it was well worth it.

I stayed for three years as a commis chef and left to take a job as a chef de parties at another Michelin star restaurant.

2. Why did you decide to follow this career path?

I didn't really decide at all. I moved to Holland intending to work in the building industry. Work was scarce and I didn't yet speak the language so I ended up washing dishes in a hotel.

This lead onto a permanent job in a bistro which in turn sparked an interest in learning to cook 3. What makes your restaurant different from others?

I don't know if we are different from other places in any essential way but I hope we are one of the best in the region.

I think all good restaurants try to give the best to their clients, so perhaps that is a question to ask the customer.

4. Who is your foodie hero?

Keith Floyd, who inspired people of my generation to give it a go and not worry too much if it all went wrong.

5. What do you think about the way food, restaurants and chefs have become 'sexy'?

I think anything that gives people an interest in eating out can only be good for everyone in the industry. Food is intrinsically sensuous and appealing, so why not?

6. You've got the night off to spend a quiet evening at home and you want something to eat, what would you have?

If I'm cooking it would have to be local lamb with its own juices (no stock cubes) and vegetables and potatoes from my garden. If it's a takeaway, a curry from The Shoboraj in Newport.