A PASSION born in his mother’s kitchen and forged in the hot oven heat of the restaurant is how one Taunton chef started his journey on his personal cookery road.

Dean Hawker, knew when he was 12-years-old he wanted to be a chef and has followed this desire throughout his career.

This path has brought him to the town centre where he runs and operates Cafe Expresso at 38, High Street in Taunton.

Dean has come along way since he started training as a chef at 16-years-old in college and then found himself doing a variety of chef jobs in hotels in Somerset.

He said: “When I was 23-yearsold I took the huge leap of opening my own restaurant in Minehead which I did with a friend and a fellow chef.

“What this taught me was at that age I had no fear. I did not for one minute think what if this goes wrong? What happens if it fails?

“I just thought about the excitement and that took over form everything else.

“I sold the site to KFC and then started my own Fish and Chip restaurant in Minehead.”

This business venture lasted from 2008-2013 before he began his adventure and venture in Taunton.

Somerset County Gazette:

Cafe Expresso serves a breakfast and lunch menu and caters for mid morning snacks and afternoon treats.

The menu includes an Expresso Breakfast: Sausages (2), bacon (2), egg, baked beans, tomato, mushrooms, has brown, toast (2), porridge plus other items like toasted croissant and bacon sandwich.

There is also light lunches like roast salmon and dill fishcake, homemade soup of the day, omelettes, summer salads, ploughmans, paninis, jacket potatoes, baguettes and sandwiches.

There is a variety of tasty treats including a wide selection of cakes such as Lemon cake, apple and sultana, coffee and walnut, chocolate and orange and Victoria sponge.

Explaining why cooking is special to him, Dean said: “It is satisfying for the customer.

They get a good experience and good food. They get enjoyment and I enjoy what I am doing. I have always enjoyed food even from a young age and knew I wanted to be a chef. I think the seed for this was sown while I was at school and they taught us cooking.

“I have always been confident when it comes to cooking and being in a hotel kitchen was a great learning time.

"I did get a buzz from being in a hotel kitchen especially when the order were coming in.

"I certainly learnt from it and got a lot better I have always been creative but where this passion for cooking comes from I do not know as no one in the family is in this type of business.”

One of the things which has changed for Dean is he has more patience.

He said if his 23-year-old self was spoken to by him now when he is 38 years old, his younger self he felt would not listen to one word.

He said: “I am more relaxed and better at delegating. I trust my staff and I teach them what to do and they do it the way the have been taught.

"I am more relaxed and things don’t bother me as much.

“I enjoy it more now. And that is the one thing I would tell my younger self to enjoy it more.”

That enjoyment now manifests itself in a different way for Dean as he enjoys seeing happy customers and being out front in the cafe and not stuck in the kitchen for long hours.

Dean gets in at 7am, prepares all the cakes and then opens the doors for customers at 7.30am.

He has four full time staff and three part time staff helping him run the cafe.

Dean enjoys the work and enjoys giving people the food they want fresh food.