Head Chef and Owner of The Victoria
Awarding Winning Gastropub
Compassion in World Farming
Phone: +44 20 8846 0966
Having spectacularly failed every exam that the Surrey County Council Education Board could throw at him Paul Merrett found himself wondering what life was going to be like on a Guildford building site! Luckily his mum, spotting a love of eating, if not cooking, packed him off to Guildford Technical College where his formal cookery training began. Whilst at the college Paul wrote letters to every hotel in London and was finally accepted as an apprentice chef at The Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly. 3 years later Paul left the Ritz and decided to travel far and wide in search of a culinary mentor..he ended up a good 500 yards further down Piccadilly where he worked for Peter Kromberg at the Michelin starred Le Soufflé restaurant. Paul’s next move was to The Greenhouse restaurant to work alongside Gary Rhodes, later helping him set up and open The Peoples Palace Restaurant at The Royal Festival Hall.
Paul’s first Head Chefs position was at The Meridian Hotel and then following a short spell in Colombo, Sri Lanka Paul took over L’Interlude restaurant. 11 months of hard work, stress and tears culminated in a Michelin Star being awarded to Paul and his team. On the back of this success Paul was approached by his former employers at The Greenhouse Restaurant and asked to return as head chef and once again Paul earned another Michelin Star. In 2005 Paul left The Greenhouse and after a short time playing house- husband he (gladly) returned to the capitals restaurant scene to open a Gastro Pub in Fulham called The Farm.
Paul now owns and runs The Victoria Public House, Dining Room and Hotel near Richmond Park in West London which won Best London Gastro Pub 2011 in the Great Pub Awards.
Paul’s media career first began with a one off appearance on Channel 4′s Light Lunch. He didn’t burn anything and managed to avoid swearing and so was invited back to make several further appearances. Since then Paul has been involved in many television projects including a ten part BBC2 series named The Best, three series of Ever Wondered About Food on BBC1, Family Supercooks on the Good Food channel and most recently presenting Economy Gastronomy on prime time BBC2. Alongside this Paul has been a regular contributor and guest presenter on Market Kitchen, ITV’s Sunday Feast, Perfect and Saturday Kitchen as well as appearing on both BBC breakfast and GMTV as a guest chef and as a guest commenting on topical food stories.
Paul has contributed to several cook books as well as writing three of his own. Using The Plot (The Allotment Chef) published by Harper Collins in 2007 is a story about urban survival which saw Paul attempt a year of self-sufficiency using an allotment. Despite threats of divorce from his wife and desertion by his children Paul soldiered on and spent the year (almost) scurvy free! The book’s narrative also contains a collection of personal recipes alongside views on various food issues. Economy Gastronomy (Penguin) is a recipe book which has its foundation in the BBC Television series of the same name which was hosted and written by Paul alongside Allegra McEvedy. Paul's most recent book Spice Odyssey was published by Kyle Books in 2013 and offers dishes inspired by Paul's travels abroad, his home cooking and experience in some of the UK's top restaurants, all united by his bold and inventive use of spice.
Paul is passionate about Food Ethics – he is a spokesman for Compassion in World Farming and the RSPCA’S Freedom Food campaign. He is also regularly to be found hosting cookery mornings in local schools with the charity School Food Matters.