THERE is an honesty to Richard Guest, you could call it Yorkshire grit, as he down plays his own self importance.

This came about when I asked him what he thought about his reputation as a chef and a human being.

He thought for a moment and said: “I believe most people in hospitality want to feel useful and that is always what I wanted to be, striving for usefulness.

“I think for me being useful is under rated. I would love to think my son will become a useful and helpful man.

“Outside of that I am the most ordinary person I know.”

Where ever we come from, whichever town, city or county it happens to be, it helps shape us as an individual.

We carry its DNA with us, we cannot help it. It seems to enter us as if by osmosis.

Richard Guest, 47, the head chef at Augustus Restaurant in Taunton, is no different.

He hails from York, in North Yorkshire and when speaking about his home county, he said: “Everyone has a bit of their heritage in them. It (coming from Yorkshire) gives you an excuse to be connected to the place we have lived.

As someone from the North it means I had the tendency to try too hard, to over compensate in my early days as a chef. It is that working class attitude of trying too hard at times.

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“It was like this for me when I started out with a chip on my shoulder and tried to over impress and often that is the thing you should try to avoid. You need to be less pretentious.”

One of the keys to hospitality is to make people feel welcome.

He said when customers enter the restaurant they need to be met and greeted as soon as they come in, so when they sit down they can be given a menu, some water is placed on the table and they are given a menu and a bread roll. It all means they feel at home, have something to drink, something to read and something to eat.

Richard said if you do not do this then there is no going back, no chance to make a second impression and he believed you have to understand the customer and act properly.

Richard got on his own culinary path in his home city of York before he moved to London to work at the Savoy Hotel.

He arrived in the capital, when he was 25/26 years old as at the time there were very few well known restaurants in the capital where a young chef could learn his trade.

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After this he worked at the Four Season, then the Maison Novelli before moving to the West Country and working at The Castle Hotel in Taunton. Following this along with Cedric Chirrosel he opened Augustus.

With a name like this a number of people think it is named after Auguste Escoffier, the famous chef or after Caesar.

But you would all be wrong it is in fact named after Augustus Gloop, the little German boy from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory-because of his love of food.

The name of the restaurant was something Richard thought up when he was 16-years-old, but for him the most important element of it all is the food they serve and the job they do as professionals in making people feel happy coming there and spending time and money.

Explaining the feeling it gives him to be a chef, Richard said: “I get an endless feeling of satisfaction like a carpenter has when he finishes making a wardrobe.

"I get to feel useful and have little moments of self gratification.

“A lot of chefs want big pats on the backs by winning awards or getting Michelin stars.

"I don’t want any of this, I want lots of little pats on the back every day from the people who eat here.

“At the end of the day all of us in this kitchen are professional cooks and there is no hierarchy in the kitchen. We do not have titles.

"We all have various levels of ability and work together to be at the top of our game.

“What we do is chop stuff up, cook it and sell it. There is no glamour.

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"If people say they want to see in the kitchen I don’t like it as it bursts a bubble and they don’t want to see four red faced men.”

One of the outside influences which infuse Richard’s cooking is his avid reading of cook books from different generations.

One of the top cook books he said was Good Things by Jane Grigson written in 1971.

Speaking about it he said: “If you read it now it was like it was written today, it is still relevant and one of the best cook books out there to buy.”

And in some ways we are back at the start of the interview and wanting to be useful.

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To me when he said ‘being useful’ I thought he was being modest, even downplaying his role and achievements.

But no, he sees being a chef as a trade, not as an art or craft, but one which is useful to everyone, especially to those who eat and those who cook.