Paul Walsh, Executive Chef, City Social

The Staff Canteen

Starting his career under Anton Edelmann at the world renowned Savoy Hotel it was here that Paul Walsh caught the bug for cooking refined, flavoursome food. Over two and a half years, Paul worked through the ranks from commis to chef de partie before moving to Savoy Grill, with Marcus Wareing at the helm. 

In 2005, Paul sought out a new venture, and progressed in his career to sous chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road. Five years later, as Paul was thinking of leaving Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, he was approached by Xavier Rousset who wanted to develop on an idea he’d had for a wine bar. The idea grew in to a reality, and in 2010, three 28 - 50 Wine Workshop and Kitchen sites opened across London.

Paul is now executive chef at Jason Atherton’s City Social. We chat to Paul about working with Marcus Wareing, what his responsibilities are at City Social and what it’s like to work with Jason Atherton.

Jason Atherton and Paul Walsh
Jason Atherton and Paul Walsh

Starting off under Anton Edelmann at The Savoy Hotel – how was that experience?

When I started, I was just 18, it was a big kitchen with about 60 chefs but I knew this career was for me.

Edelman was a massive presence around the hotel, he only really spoke to me once a day to say ‘good morning boy’ - I was a second commis so that was about it. He was then, and is still now, always a very polite gentleman.

While working under Marcus Wareing, how did you help him to achieve a Michelin star at The Savoy Grill?

We had a really great team at the Savoy Grill and all worked well together. We had a brilliant head chef in Josh Emmett.

When we won the star I was just trying to keep my head above water. I was on the sauce station and at this time, I was trying to do the best I could.

You worked at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay for five years, what was your single biggest professional challenge whilst you were there, and how did you overcome it?

It was a very tough five years but I loved every minute of it. I felt as if I had a goal to reach and would not stop until I achieved it.

To overcome the hardships, you just need to have ambition. You have to be serious about your profession and you have to love what you do. Never give up!

Can you tell us a bit more about the wine workshop and kitchens you launched in 2010?

Where have you worked?

Savoy Hotel – Anton Edelmann

Savoy Grill – Marcus Waring

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – Gordon Ramsay / Mark Askew / Simone Zanoni / Clare Smyth

20/50 – ‘Executive Chef’

City Social ‘Executive Chef’

Dream Restaurant

Somewhere hot on the beach, we would serve the same food as we do at City Social as that’s my style.

Dream Team

Julien Imbert

Alex Parker

Cary Docherty

Ross Bryans

Ben Mellor

Liam Smith-Laing

Because they are all my mates and it would be a good laugh, sections wouldn’t really matter if that’s the team I had.

Because they are all my mates and it would be a good laugh, sections wouldn’t really matter if that’s the team I had.

I was approached by Xavier Rousset as I was leaving restaurant Gordon Ramsay, he wanted to start up a new concept wine bar, I agreed to take a look and we went from there.

How did you end up working for Jason Atherton? Did you know him beforehand?

I did know Jason beforehand but not that well, I knew he was at Maze whilst I was at Gordon Ramsay’s Royal Hospital Road restaurant, but we had never worked together.

We ended up working together because I wanted a new challenge and he had an opportunity for me with City Social.

What are your daily responsibilities at City Social?

My responsibilities include overseeing the daily running of the kitchen, mep, I am always trying to come up with new menu ideas, and I run the pass during lunch and dinner every day.

Does Jason have a lot of input at City Social? Is the menu down to you or does Jason decide?

I do all the menu at City Social, so it’s great to be able to showcase my food. When Jason comes over I always cook him my new dishes to get his opinion, and I always think that’s a nice luxury to have right?

As a boss, Jason is always very positive and energetic. Nothing is ever impossible! 

Has the style of dishes changed since you started at City Social?

The style of the food has remained the same, but since I’ve been in charge of the menu, the dishes have become more complex. It’s still important to have good ingredients, fused with great cooking.

What have you learnt from Jason?

I have learnt a lot about the guests experience and expectations - you have to think about the ambience of the atmosphere.

Short rib
Short rib 

So at 11:30am while the chefs are cleaning down ready for lunch service, I check that the front reception desk is polished, I make sure that floors in the restaurant are cleaned properly, the music in the restaurant is at the right volume, and that there are fresh hand towels in the toilets.

I’ve learnt to look out for perfection in all the finer details we deliver for our guests.

What are your plans for the future?

2 stars (hahahahaha)





In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th May 2016

Paul Walsh, Executive Chef, City Social