Paul Damian Harris, Mercure Shakespeare Hotel, Warwickshire: Chef
PUBLISHED: 23:02 07 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:17 20 February 2013
Thirty-five-year-old Paul Damian Harris is head chef at the Mercure Shakespeare Hotel in Chapel Street Stratford. He is also in charge of Othello's Brasserie which is also based there. We asked Paul a few questions.
Thirty-five-year-old Paul Damian Harris is head chef at the Mercure Shakespeare Hotel in Chapel Street Stratford. He is also in charge of Othello's Brasserie which is also based there. We asked Paul a few questions about his life in and out of work.
Tell us about your menu.
Modern British with a twist.
What is your favourite dish to cook?
Local venison with root vegetables, mash, chorizo beans and Madeira jus.
And to eat?
You can't beat a good Sunday lunch
Which chefs do you admire?
Any that you don't?
When did you start cooking?
I had at part time job from the age of 14.
I needed some money and a kitchen assistant job was advertised at a local hotel
Where did you train?
Henley College in Coventry for three years
What's your approach to food and the whole dining experience?
People know a lot more about food now so they expect something different when they dine out. It is up to the chef to try his hardest to meet their expectations.
What is the most important meal you've ever cooked?
My daughter Chelsea Louisa's christening dinner
Do you use local produce and local suppliers?
Try to but sometimes my hands can be tied by various circumstances.
What local products do you value most?
Local meat, fewer farmers seem able to sale their meat locally which is a big shame.
What is your favourite food to cook with?
We are just starting to use Lighthorne lamb which is really excellent quality.
What's the best bit of advice you've ever received?
Be friendly to all your staff as you may meet them elsewhere
And the best you've ever given?
Never be late for your shift.
How often do you change your menu?
Table d'hte changes every two months and a la carte changes seasonally. Our Othello's menu will be changing in amongst all that.
Do you have any favourites that you will always include no matter what changes you make?
I love fillet steak on the bone. The price is high but the favour is worth it
Why should people visit the Shakespeare Hotel?
Because all our staff strive to give the friendly service and good quality food at reasonable prices
What is your 'other' favourite Warwickshire restaurant?
I would have to say the Bull and Butcher in Kersley. Nice food and great service
Any ambitions for the future?
To win the lotto or enjoy my time with Mercure Hotels.
When you're not working what do you like to do?
Sleep, meet up with friends and enjoying a pint.
Pressed terrine of duck and white bean
Amaretto cherries and slow roasted garlic
Saut Devon coast scallops
Smoked venison wafer, pea risotto
Pan Cooked Partridge, Wilted Baby Gem With Peppered Pear
Garlic Cream Sauce
Char Grilled Marrow and Wild Mushroom Open Lasagne,
Glazed with a Ragiono Cheese, Roasted Parsnip
Trio of Autumn Puddings Apple Pie Blackberry Brule and Ginger Bread Ice Cream