Having trained in Cape Town and travelled the world whilst growing up, Lucinda Cambridge has certainly earned her place as Executive Chef at Barley Mow in Wimborne, where the family is now putting down roots.

At the age of 24, Lucinda brings fresh ideas to the table at the newly refurbished 16th-century country pub.

Born in Northampton, when she was 18 months old the Cambridge family moved to Saudi Arabia for five years then went on to Botswana for nine years, at which time Lucinda went to boarding school in Somerset back here in the UK.

Lucinda later rejoined her parents Karen and Barrie in Uganda where she finished school achieving an International Baccalaureate qualification.

Cape Town was where Lucinda’s culinary skills truly came into fruition.

“I always wanted to do something creative. I went to Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town for three years. I have a Grande Diplome and Le Cordon Bleu qualification,” says Lucinda.

Distinguished Silwood graduates including Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre-White can be found in kitchens worldwide.

“I worked in various places learning different techniques and specialties. I learnt how to be very adaptable. For my third year I completed an apprenticeship at Ellerman House, which is a luxury chateau establishment in Bantry Bay overlooking the ocean, it’s very private and very beautiful,” says Lucinda.

Having gained a rich variety of culinary knowledge Lucinda is now back in the UK.

“I returned in January 2012 and worked in London, my parents moved back in May 2012 and found this pub.

“I’m well versed in pastry, last year I spent six months doing pastry and training at Texture, a Michelin star restaurant in Mayfair. I then worked for a cake company in Hackney for another six months doing bespoke wedding cakes and novelty cakes.”

Lucinda continues to make bespoke cakes and runs cooking classes in the Barley Mow Kitchen or visits people’s homes.

“I loved Cape Town. I would go back but it's difficult to get a work permit there at the moment. We are settled now. My parents always knew they wanted to live in this part of country.

“When I was a private chef I was working on the super yachts, so I’ve been able to do everything from fish to desserts. I went from working during the summer in the Mediterranean, summer in America, then off to the Bahamas in the Caribbean so I had constant sun for two years. It’s taking a while to get used to British weather again.”

Now on Dorset turf, Lucinda is looking forward to the new challenges ahead.

“It’s a learning curve but very exciting. We’ve created a menu using locally sourced produce where possible, including meat supplier Spring Fields in Poole, to bring our diners classic British fare with a modern twist. The new menu is classically British and I will utilise influences from Asian, Europe, and the Mediterranean which I love. But of course we’ll also do the pub classics,” explains Lucinda.

“Our goal for next year is to win awards. This year is about getting the food and the service consistent. It’s important to go back to basics – fresh produce, free range, knowing where your food comes from.”

Who is your inspiration?

“Mary Berry is fantastic considering she is self-taught. My favourite chef at moment is Tom Aikens. American chef Thomas Keller has always been a big inspiration of mine. He’s the owner of The French Laundry in California and has three Michelin stars. I love his style and I have all of his books,” enthused Lucinda.

Any advice to bestow?

“I think some young people and students I’ve met don't have the enthusiasm – they need to watch programmes, read books and really be aware of what’s happening around them. Food is all about the trends, you don’t want to get left behind. “Nowadays in the pub industry you can't just serve nice beer and food, it has to be highly competitive and really good for pubs to succeed and as a local pub in Wimborne we strive for the best.”

  • Barley Mow Inn, Long Lane, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 7AH, 01202 882140, barleymowinn.co.uk

Signature dish: Herb Crusted Cod Loin with Asparagus and Leek Risotto (Serves 2)

To make the risotto sauté half an onion, garlic, olive oil, half a leek, add Arborio rice, and stir.
Add vegetable stock, continue stirring.

To make the herb crust mix dill, parsley, lemon zest, bread crumbs and butter.

Add oil to the pan and place the cod skin side down for 2-3 minutes. Take off heat and place in the oven at 180°C for 5 minutes.

Add chopped asparagus to the risotto and cook for 4-5 minutes for crunch.

Season to taste with black pepper and add grated parmesan cheese, parsley and stir. Cook risotto so it is al dente.

Plate up with a large spoonful of risotto. Using a spatula take care not to break the cod, place on top of the risotto and serve with a side salad, rocket, baby leaves and cherry tomatoes.