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Michelin chef reveals secret tip to create amazing lasagne – and expensive ingredient you shouldn’t use

Every Wednesday we get Michelin chefs, top bloggers or critics to pick their favourite Cheap Eats where they live and at home. This week we speak to Ollie Bridgwater, executive chef at the one-starred SOURCE at Gilpin Hotel in Cumbria.


Hi Ollie, what’s your go-to cheap eat for a night at home?

It has to be lasagne. It can be cost-effectively put together and you can batch-cook it and pop it in the freezer to enjoy later, plus, it’s a favourite of my family and friends.

To elevate the taste without any additional cost, I fry half of the meat until it’s dark brown and catching, then add in the other half of meat until it is lightly browned. I then scrape all the caramelised meat off the bottom of the pan – it provides great richness and texture. 

If you wanted to indulge a little, and cost is less important, you can add a bit of Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar and truffle to the béchamel sauce, it really enhances the flavour. 

Also, don’t waste wine, if you have good quality meat and season it correctly, there’s no need to add this to the recipe – instead keep it in the glass and enjoy.

Can you tell us your favourite places in Cumbria where you can get a meal for two for less than £40?

Homeground, Windermere. This is my go-to brunch place of choice. Brunch is served til close and the menu has a variety of sweet and savoury options. My personal favourite is the Homeground Sarnie which includes both smoked back bacon and streaky bacon, a fried egg, smashed avocado, hash browns, caramelised red onion and leaves and is served in a sourdough ciabatta. It pairs perfectly with an Americano. They don’t take reservations – you just turn up and they will seat you when they can. Quite often you will see people patiently queuing outside in rain, wind and snow, which is a great sign of their quality of food and popularity with both locals and tourists alike.

Toast, Windermere. Toast opened early last year and has been a brilliant addition to the area. Their whole concept is around serving toasted sandwiches in Shokupan bread. Shokupan is a Japanese milk loaf, which when toasted is the perfect bread for toasties – they bake the Shokupan on site daily so it’s the freshest it can be. They have a range of fillings, including plant-based options, and their teriyaki pulled mushrooms toastie with pulled mushrooms, teriyaki marinade, cheese, spring onion and sweet mayo is delicious. Great to grab and go.

The Brown Horse Inn, Winster. This was actually one of the first places I dined at when I moved up to the Lake District last year. The Brown Horse is, quite simply, a really good pub. It’s family-owned, has a varied food and drink offering that celebrates local produce and always guarantees a warm welcome for all – families and dogs included. It was even Cumbria’s best pub and bar in last year’s National Pub and Bar Awards.

Read all our Cheap Eats recommendations around the UK here

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