Chef Revelations – Paul Merrett

10 September 2012 by
Chef Revelations – Paul Merrett

What was your first job in catering?
Making pizzas and flipping burgers at Snakattack in Godalming

Which is your favourite restaurant?
Papaya, a Sri Lankan restaurant in Northfields Avenue, Ealing, where all our family celebrations take place, reminds me of so many happy times

What's your favourite hotel?
236 Hurumzi (formerly known as Emerson and Green) in Stone Town, Zanzibar - very cool hotel set in an old colonial merchant's mansion. I grew up about 10 doors down the street, by the way

What newspaper/website do you read?
Private Eye

What do you do to relax?
I'm not sure I relax in the "sit back and chill" sense, but sport clears my head. I cycle and play football

Which ingredient do you hate most?
I am very unsure about marrows. I included a chapter about their worthlessness in my first book. I love their sexy teenage French cousin the courgette, though, but marrows are just watery useless things

Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with?
Foie gras. I am a spokesman for Compassion in World Farming and, therefore, have committed myself to a foie gras-free life. This was only marginally easier than giving up fags

Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
Michael Kitts and the late Peter Kromberg had the most direct influence on my formative years, but many of the big names have inspired me

What's your favourite film?
The Life of Brian. I'll be happy to quote various scenes while drunk, if required

If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
Terry Hall

What is your favourite prepared product?
Peanut butter

What flavour combinations do you detest?
Chocolate and fruit. They don't go

Who would play you in a film about your life?
Bloody heck, no idea. Hopefully not Chevy Chase

What do you always carry with you?
A puncture repair kit

Who would be in your fantasy brigade?
Several of the guys who have worked for me: Anton Manganaro at Bafta; Andy Donovan; Bruce Wilson; Todd Carrol; James Maclean; Dan Pennington - the Henry Root; Chris Marriott; David Attwater; Charlie Boyce - the Victoria

Paul Merrett, chef-director, the Victoria, Sheen, south-west London

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