Ashford was the head chef in a restaurant that specialized in dragon cuisine.
One day, when Lina Inverse, Gourry Gabriev, Amelia Wil Tesla Saillune, and Zelgadiss Graywords ordered dragon cuisine, and were instead fed bad whale meat by his subordinates, Ashford undertook to redeem the honor of his kitchen by preparing a full course dragon dinner for the Slayers. This, of course, required that he captures and kills a giant lake dragon.
Ashford led the expedition, but was highly unprepared, resulting in a few failures to capture the mighty beast. Ultimately, though, invoking his Secret Strike Shooting Star Cleaver Slash, he slew the great dragon with a santoku.
As a gourmet chef, he also planned to prepare the dragon meat in a number of different and delicious ways. Unfortunately, the Slayers couldn't wait the six months it would take to finish the preparations.
Ashford's clothing appears to be that of an old western cowboy, but with a toque superimposed on his Stetson.
Ashford is extremely proud and protective of his kitchen and his restaurant's reputation. When his subordinates failed to serve the Slayers the right order, he makes it his duty to redeem the honor of his kitchen.
Ashford seems to have a personal desire for preparing dragon cuisine. When asked, he told Amelia it was because she reminded him of his beloved granddaughter, who was gravely ill, and whose only desire was to eat dragon cuisine before she died. As a result, he trained under a great dragon cuisine master until he became proficient in the technique himself. However, his granddaughter had died before he could complete his quest.
He also told Lina that she resembled his daughter, Gourry that he looked like his son-in-law, and Zelgadis that he reminded him of his beautiful, young, delicate wife. This led the Slayers to believe that the chef was delusional. But in the end, Ashford's locket reveals that it is all true: the Slayers do resemble Ashford's lost family.
Ashford is master of a dragon slaying technique called the Secret Strike Shooting Star Cleaver Slash, which allows the chef to strike at a vulnerable nerve bundle at the nape of the dragon's neck, slaying it instantly.
Ashford's personality seems at least in part inspired by the popular Japanese TV show, Iron Chef.