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Loving Life in Hospitality – Paulo De Tarso, senior maitre d', Bar Boulud, London

05 November 2012
Loving Life in Hospitality – Paulo De Tarso, senior maitre d', Bar Boulud, London

As part of the Think Again campaign, Janie Manzoori-Stamford asks Paulo de Tarso why he loves his career in hospitality

How did you find your way into the hospitality industry?

I started my career as a dishwasher in New York at the age of 16 and have worked my way up through the ranks, learning in every position with some great mentors along the way. What started out as a side job grew into a passion.

Did you know right away this industry was for you?

I have always loved the energy, the clientele, the passion to get everything perfectly in rhythm. It's an exciting industry. In truth, I fell into it as a backdrop to other things I was doing, but I fell in love and a career was born. I'm a people person, so front of house is a natural fit.

What training opportunities have you been given?

Most recently, I completed a one-year management course through Mandarin Oriental called Move Forward. We focused on some of the financial aspects, team management, marketing and PR. It was definitely a lesson in time management, too, since I have three little boys at home and I was spending my weekends doing homework. My wife wasn't entirely thrilled!

Have you had a mentor along the way?

When I came to London, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King were incredibly generous in sharing their knowledge. They are truly masters of the restaurant industry with so many insights. Later, at Scott's, I had the good fortune of working with Kevin Lansdown, another master. I have met some incredible people through the industry, whether clients or colleagues, who've shared life lessons, insights, and wisdom that I've managed to combine to make my own magic potion.

What's the most rewarding day you've had in your career?

Opening Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. On opening day, we hosted the 50 Best Chefs in the World lunch for the S Pellegrino Awards. Having the most incredible chefs all together was both inspiring and intimidating as a build-up while training our staff. The service was flawless, I was like a proud father, and so inspired by all the passion and talent in the room.

Through the restaurant, I've had the chance to collaborate with some charities, most recently by throwing myself into the boxing ring for Rumble in the Kitchen.

What do you love most about your job?

The people. They come from every continent, culture and life experience. Some come to celebrate a milestone, others just for a quick bite. So many different stories. To share a meal is a sacred moment. We are all running around to meet the demands of life. We need to remember to slow down for moments of true enjoyment, and if I can help provide that, if I can help make a memorable experience, I have done my part. A passion for food, a real love for people, and the opportunity to be a part of so many people's special moments. It's an honour.

What do you hope to achieve in your career in the future?

I love London and I'm excited to be a part of this food revolution. Even as recently as seven years ago, when I first moved here, the restaurant industry had a handful of "go to" places, the rest were hit and miss. There are now definitely more places getting it right. London has become the capital of Europe for foodies. One day I'll open my own restaurant.

Who do you think is the best ambassador for the hospitality industry and why?

Daniel Boulud is my hero. He is the American dream. A little boy from Lyon who became one of the best chefs in the world. His charity work is amazing; he is always looking for ways to be more involved and more giving. He's an inspiration. He's kind and humble, and a great mentor. I love him like a father. He's the real deal.

CV Highlights

  • 2005-08 Maître d', the Wolseley, Piccadilly, London
  • 2008-10 Maître d', Scott's, Mayfair, London
  • 2010-present Senior maître d', Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London

Loving life

Loving Life in Hospitality is a new series of interviews with young hospitality professionals who have started at the bottom and risen through the ranks quickly. It is part of Caterer and Hotelkeeper‘s Think Again campaign, which aims to show young people, teachers and career advisers the excellent career opportunities that exist in the hospitality sector.

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