Name: Paul Brooke-Taylor           

Workplace: Highclere Castle

When did you first decide to become a chef?

I was 12 years old and used to go to a butcher with my mother. I was curious about the place and I then gained some work experience. This was the start of my interest for food. I then went on to do an apprenticeship at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford aged 15.

What training route did you follow?

Apprenticeship at The Randolph Hotel, Oxford.

Do you have a signature dish?

I have two; Venison Braisée a la forestière and Beetroot Cured Salmon

Which ingredient(s) do you particularly enjoy working with?

Particularly game

What makes your restaurant stand out?

N/A

What food do you cook at home?

I have two young children at home so cook a varied repertoire, the children love their vegetables which is great as we’ve an abundance of produce growing at home. I also cook a lot of Toad in the Hole as it is their favourite dish.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The recognition I receive from Lord and Lady Carnarvon

What has been your biggest challenge?

Having a stroke in 2010 at age 35 which impaired my vision.

Which of your work achievements are you most proud of?

I was incredibly proud to be offered the position as Head Chef at Highclere Castle. I remember after the interview being so enthusiastic about it and to this day my enthusiasm has not waned and each and every day I’m inspired.

 Which person/company operating in the food and drink sector do you most admire and why?

 My first executive chef Mike Caroll was a fantastic mentor to me. Richard Walton was my first ever sous chef and he shaped me, educated and organised me.

What are your most important ethical considerations (for example, issues such as the environment, organic food, Fairtrade etc)?

Environment is hugely important, if we don’t look after the planet we won’t have a planet to live on. Sourcing locally and seasonally is a must too.

What would you like to be doing in five years time?

Highclere has been my longest continuous employment as a chef and I don’t see myself leaving in the next 5 – 10 years as it is a wonderful place to be and it’s a great work/life balance.

Describe your perfect meal?

Scallops to start, followed by a roasted leg of lamb and dauphinois with red cabbage, enjoyed with a Merlot from Napa Valley region. This would be followed by sticky toffee pudding.

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