10 minutes with: Paul Welburn

The  Staff Canteen
He's a Michelin-starred chef from Scarborough who has had his latest project in mind for the past two years. Working with Searcys, Paul Wellburn is excited to bring restaurant Tonic and Remedy to life in Shorditch, London. We caught up with him to find out what makes this restaurant different to what people have seen before. pea and wild garlic risottoThe Gherkin is one of the many impressive buildings which dominate the London skyline and it's here where Paul Welburn has been coming up with the plans for his new venture; Tonic and Remedy, which will be on the ground floor of a new five star hotel, M by Montcalm in Shoreditch. He will be executive chef for the building but there will be collaborations with other chefs, with  Anthony Demetre expected to be the first one when he takes over the top floor later in the year. So there will be two Michelin-starred chefs under one roof - not a bad start. "I've been excited about this project for a long time," explained Paul. "Tonic and Remedy is about apothecary. The restaurant’s inspiration comes from the 18th and 19th centuries, when Shoreditch was one of London’s main areas for medicine-making, surgeries, and doctors. We're trying to link into the old and herbal remedies and healthy eating so it's about using some of the old ingredients like herbs, spices, fruits and even alcohols that were used." Speaking of alcohol the theme doesn't stop at the food, award-winning bartender Jeremy Pascal will be wowing guests with his selection of cocktails also inspired by old fashioned remedies and ingredients. Paul and his team will be giving the old classics a bit of a lift alongside the more quirky feel good remedies such as a herbal salad with an old parsley wine dressing. He said: "A long time a go parsley wine was given to people for ailments and digestion, we've taken that idea and made it into a dressing to accompany the salad.bloody mary "Each component in the salad has a different health benefit which they were used for in the past. So pomegranate for certain ailments, avocados provide the good fat that you need, pearl barley and rice have long been used for fiber and cucumber for hydration." Heading up Paul's team is Luke Finegan, who has worked at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Roux at Parliament Square; alongside him is sous chef Peter Wilton. "They are a real core team who are dedicated to doing something different," explained Paul. "We're really researching all of these old flavours and ingredients and I'm in talks with Kew Gardens to try and get down there. They have a massive development working with scientists - I want to get down there and speak to them about their knowledge of the past and try and give our team a link there. We don't want to preach about these things in the restaurant if we don't have the information to back it up." There will be a lot of old flavours running through the menu which link to herbs and other ingredients that may not be as prominent as they used to be. But it won't all be about healthy eating, Paul said: "It's also important to remember it's within a hotel so there need to be classics, crowd pleasers and feel good dishes. These are a bit quirky but without being to dramatic, one of the dishes is a twist on jellied eels. They have a bad reputaion and they may have been popular once but nowadays people cringe at the idea, so we are taking it to a new level with a mackerel and smoked eel pate. It's done in a jar and topped with dashi jelly, so it's not an insipid, tasteless jelly and within that we will be setting diced eel to make it look like jellied eels." CBU-6cCWwAAN5vpHe added: "The style of food we will be doing is me, it's what I like to do - although this site allows me to use techniques that are being used now but with flavour profiles and dishes that have been forgotten about. We're not trying to be Heston Blumenthal so not every dish will be historical but we want to open people's eyes to things." Paul started his career at The Star Inn in Harome before deciding he wanted to be in London and taking up a position with Gary Rhodes. "I only came for a year and I've been here ever since," said Paul. He gained his star at Rhodes W1, where he had started as a sous chef and eight months later the restaurant was awarded it's Michelin star, Paul took over and kept the star for seven years. As well as being a Michelin-starred chef he's also tried his hand at TV, taking part in BBC's Great British Menu last year. He said: "That was amazing. I've been watching it for many years and I always wanted to represent the north east and it was nice to be a part of. It was tough, probably one of the hardest things I've done but it was fantastic. I'd do it again and I would want to try and win the region next time!" CBR481bW4AALAKLPaul's new menu embraces the best of British and for him that's key as he works primarily with seasonal produce. He explained: "I'm a big fan of seasonality although I know our seasons here are unpredictable and can be too long or too short and things aren't available that were years back. Of course you can't use everything from our shores but they should be from as close to home as possible. Coming from Yorkshire it was a lot easier to get products from local farmers, shoots or markets - here in Lonodn you've got a lot more variety but you lose a feel of the locality." He added: "Gone are the days when you just put pork on the menu, now you have to say where it is from which is nice, it means there is a story there and the suppliers work hard to produce it so we should promote them." Tonic and Reemdie will be open from May 4 with a soft launch expected from April 20 By Cara Pilkington @canteencara  
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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd April 2015

10 minutes with: Paul Welburn