HE is 33-years-old (or 32+1 as he says), he cannot drive a car even though he was given a car for his birthday in February and he rides a moped called Stephen.

There is more to Liam Finnegan, head chef at The Castle Hotel in Taunton, than you would imagine.

He has a charm, a warmth and an honesty to him which makes him if you want to use a phrase then he is ‘a modern 21st century man’.

He cares, he is nurturing and he would describe himself as quiet feminine and is not afraid to show his emotions in a caring way.

A fun fact is he was given the name Liam completely by chance. His mother came up with three names, Liam, Keith and Darren. His father put all three names in a top hat and his mum drew his name out of the hat.

Much to his relief it was Liam but and here is a twist his second name is Darren.

Speaking to him face to face, I got the feeling his formative years in Carlingford, in northern County Louth, made so much of an impression on him, he consciously aims to reproduce the family warmth and homely feeling he had back in Ireland at The Castle Hotel in Taunton.

It was in this Irish town, where he learnt, thanks to his grandmother to play cards, bake bread and cook different pieces of meat such as pork or lamb.

Speaking about his Carlingford, Liam said: “I means quite a lot to me, it is where I am from.

“Most of my family live 15-20 miles of each other and I am the only one who ventured off. When I go home with the kids, it feels like I have not been away.

“As a place it gives me a feeling of warmth, happiness, family and comfort.

“I learnt how to bake from my grandmother and her recipe for Soda bread is the one I use on the menu at The Castle. She never used scales, she just used her hands. She knew how much to use. So when I got her to make it once I used a scales to work out how much ingredients she used.”

He has also managed to bring a taste of Carlingford to The Castle thanks to the town’ s famous oysters.

He said: “They are the best I have ever tasted and I have tasted those from Porlock. With the Carlingford oysters. you can really taste them.”

It was working in Carlingford as a pot washer in a restaurant where his brother was the head chef, which got him on the cooking road.

So it not only helped mould him as a person, it helped shape him on the journey to becoming a chef.

Liam who is a family man (he and his wife have four children), aims to ensure his staff have a work/life balance so they can spend time with their families and not be swamped by work.

We all pigeon hole, button hole and classify, the type of characters we meet.

With Liam Finnigan, the words you would use in the index would be compassion, thoughtful, funny and grounded.

Talking about what makes him who he is, Liam said: “Our industry (cooking) is a very male dominated, very macho, boys will be boys. But I would describe myself as quite feminine and not afraid to show emotions in a caring way.

“I like having women around the kitchen and having them as part of the team and working alongside everyone.

“This team in the kitchen is like an extension of our families. We spend more time with them than we do with our own families.

“We all look out for each other and we all find a work/life balance. No more 70-80-90 hours a week.

“It needs to be 45-50 hours so we give people an outside life.Everyone here is a star performer.

“I do not interview CV’s, I interview people (for jobs in the kitchen). I ask them to come in for a few hours, spend time with us to see if we like them and they like us.”

Liam has a thoughtful maturity to his way of working in a busy kitchen.

There is a distinct balance to the way he looks at being a chef and what cooking means to him.

He said: “It puts money in the bank account but I get paid to so something I love.

“Cooking is a life style. I have likened it to a drug and it is something I am hooked on.

“It is all encompassing. There is a joy to it an emotional happiness and sadness all at the same time. I am at my best when I am in the kitchen and there is noise, clatter, footsteps walking past and flames going up and the temperature is rising. It is when I am spiritually most happy. This is a happy team, a happy kitchen and I have Stephen, my trusted moped.”

And there you have a flavour of Liam Finnegan, the man spreading happiness via food.