Paul O'Neill, Head Chef
Paul began his career in professional kitchens aged just 15. At school, he struggled academically, and so decided to swap the adversities of the classroom, for the enjoyment and warmth of the kitchen. Having sent his CV to numerous hotels across the country, it was the prestigious Claridge’s in London who gave him his big break by offering him a training placement in their kitchens.
While Paul may not have excelled at school, it soon became apparent that he had found his vocation in the culinary art of cooking. By the age of 22, he was already working as a Senior Sous Chef for a 4 red star property with 2 rosettes.
It was during his time as Sous Chef at Ashdown Park Hotel in Surrey that Paul decided to take part in the prestigious Roux Scholarship competition. For the first time ever the competition was televised, and in June 2013, after beating off tough competition, he was named as the 30th Roux Scholar live on television. This put him among the ranks of culinary heavyweights such as Andrew Fairlie, Simon Hulstone and Sat Bains.
Michel Roux JR at the time said, “Paul is undoubtedly a great chef and an assiduous one at that, but his unflappable nature along with his generous comportment make him the perfect Roux Scholar.”
Last year, Paul also reached the semi-finals of The National Chef of the Year Competition, however he has now decided to bow out of the competition circuit and concentrate on creating new and exciting menus at Berwick Lodge.
Commenting on his decision, he said, “I now want to focus on the success of Hattusa Restaurant and make it a real culinary destination that everybody wants to visit.”
Paul describes his style of cooking as modern British with an occasional Asian twist, which inspires the dishes featured on his seasonal menus in Hattusa Restaurant. With a passion for creating new and exciting dishes, Paul is looking forward to using his style and skill to make his mark on the Bristol culinary scene.
He said: “I want to introduce a fresh style of dining to Berwick Lodge. My aim is to ensure that Hattusa gains an excellent reputation in its own right – not just as part of the hotel. The hotel already has two AA rosettes, however I am aiming to get a third this year, and maybe even a Michelin star in the future. With a fantastic and enthusiastic team behind me, who all share my vision and passion for food, I am confident that together we can achieve this.”