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Paul Merrett

Chef and TV personality Paul Merrett makes a mean bread and butter pudding. But will he spill the beans in our quick fire round? Paul spent the first three years of his career as an apprentice chef at the Ritz in London’s Piccadilly. Now, he is the Chef and Joint Owner of The Victoria in SW14.

What is your favourite dish?

1. A mutton biriyani (best I ever had was at Southalls Brilliant Restaurant)

2. A rare rib eye steak with triple cooked chips and bernaise sauce

3. My mums Chicken Kuku Aku paka - zanzibar style chicken in coconut milk

What do you feel is your signature dish?

I don't really do signature dishes anymore - my menu changes all the time and nothing is sacred. I left all that signature stuff behind with the fine dining and Michelin stars! Having said that we have dishes which are on the menu due purely to popular demand such as a dish of caramalised pork belly, pea puree and seared scallops.

How do you relax? Any pass times or hobbies?

Time to relax is in short supply to be honest. I run the restaurant full time as head chef and owner. Any media work I am offered has to fit in between, then its the family - I have two kids who use up most of my spare time. Every now and then I fit in a long walk in the country or a days fishing and very rarely a mad night out on the town with a few friends!

What's your foodie weakness?

Chocolate! I go for the trashy stuff - Dairy Milk over posh Venezualan single bean stuff any day!

What is your motto?

I dont have an official motto - does anyone!? However just about every week I tell one of my chefs 'I got this far on minimum talent and maximum effort - if I can - you can' so perhaps its a motto of sorts.

What's for lunch?

Lunch today is a family affair with my mum and sister and her family. The weather is rumoured to be good so poached salmon, Norfolk asparagus, jersey royals and bernaise sauce. Cricket in the garden and my mums famous afternoon tea. Life could be worse I guess!

What's on your plate?

I've got lots on at the momet and most of it is connected with a couple of charities I work with.... I am hosting a food tent at Taste of London on June 19th in Regents Park on behalf of Action Against Hunger.

I am presenting the Compassion in World Farming awards with Bill Oddie (legend!) in mid July and I am currently planning a big Foodie event with lots of chefs (Manju - will you join us??) on behalf of The Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture. No major TV contracts to boast of (boo hoo!) but bits and bobs....GMTV, Market Kitchen, Saturday Kitchen etc

The Allotment Chef (first book) published by Harper Collins is now out in paperback.

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