Leigh Myers started cooking at the age of seven but it was when he was offered an apprenticeship at Paul Heathcote's School of Excellence, now in Manchester, at the age of 15 that he decided to go for a career as a chef (and put dreams of being a professional golfer to one side).
Now executive chef at the Grosvenor Pulford hotel in Chester, the 27-year-old feels his decision to forgo the country's fairways for different kinds of greens was the right one.
After graduating from Heathcote's, he worked at Chez Nico restaurant in London for a few months. The capital's pace was dramatically different to what he was used to, and, deciding the aggression and discipline of a West End kitchen was not for him, he returned to the Heathcote family to work in the brasserie in Preston (now Simply Heathcotes) as chef de partie, larder and meat.
Within a year, though, he moved to the Michelin-starred Northcote Manor under Steve Williams and Nigel Haworth, where he made it to sous chef.
In 2001 he returned for another spell at the Simply Heathcotes Preston restaurant, this time as head chef.
For his next job, the owners of the Park hotel in Preston wanted him to create a well respected eaterie from scratch. Within two weeks of opening - and with Myers doing his fair share of washing-up - the restaurant was awarded two AA rosettes.
But after he had spent only six months at the Park, in 2003, Paul Heathcote asked his former trainee to become head chef at his flagship Michelin-starred Longridge restaurant - an offer too good to refuse.
"It was the first proper kitchen I had stepped into when I first started, so it was amazing going back there as head chef," Myers says.
While there, he won a Caterer Acorn award in recognition of his talent. "It's the one that your peers and employees recommend you for, so it's special," he says.
Myers gained a Michelin star, three AA rosettes and an Egon Ronay accolade during his 18 months back at Longridge, before decamping to the Wordsworth hotel in Grasmere, Cumbria, in the summer of 2005.
He has been in his current position at the Grosvenor Pulford since April of this year, and has ambitions to one day run his own business.
BOXTEXT: SALARY WATCH: HOTEL EXECUTIVE AND HEAD CHEFS
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Three stars, up to 100 bedrooms £23,000 £26,000-£28,000 £30,000
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Four stars, up to 100 bedrooms £26,000 £30,000-£34,000 £38,000
Four stars, 100 bedrooms or more £29,000 £32,000-£40,000 £62,000
Five stars, up to 100 bedrooms £33,000 £40,000-£48,000 £65,000
Five stars, 100 bedrooms or more £45,000 £50,000-£70,000 £100,000