Paulo de Tarso, Bar Boulud

The Staff Canteen

Paulo de Tarso discusses his role as Maitre d'hotel at Bar Boulud and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Paulo de Tarso

Place of work: Bar Boulud

Role: Maitre d'hotel 

Bio: Paulo started his career in the USA at the age of 16, working his way up through various roles in New York and Los Angeles. He came to London ten years ago, starting work at The Wolseley, followed by three years as Maître D’ at Scott’s in Mayfair. 

Follow Paulo on Twitter here: @paulodetarso24 

Chef Skills

Paulo de Tarso takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

You’ve been in the industry since you were 16, why did you choose this industry?

To begin with, it was a great flexible job for while I was studying. I hadn't thought beyond making some extra cash and being able to set my hours around other things I was doing. I got my start in New York and then later in Los Angeles, so the good tips and flexibility were the draw. I soon realised I had found a really intriguing line of work and I wanted to learn all I could, meeting people and the thrill of truly providing a good experience. I saw there was the potential of an interesting career path. 

You started your career in the United States, what attracted you to the UK?

My mother-in-law is British and my wife Heidi had always wanted to live in England. This country has been really good to us. I liked what was starting to happen in the food industry when we first moved here. It felt like a rebirth was underway and I wanted to be a part of it.

How many years did it take you to get to the level you are at now?

I have been in the industry all of my adult life, so I can say it's been a lifelong journey. I am always learning and open to new perspectives and our changing industry keeps it interesting.

How long would you say it should take for someone to reach the same level that you’re now at?

It depends on each individual, I would say it takes a focused 10+ years of hard work to have the depth of knowledge that becomes second nature. 

Is there enough focus on front of house?

There is no disputing that the food is extremely important and hats off to the Chefs, but we are dealing with a very demanding and more sophisticated clientele today, especially at this level, and I do feel sometimes there is a danger that not everyone remembers how important front of house is in making the whole package exceptional. From make a booking and walking in the restaurant, we need to make sure everything is perfect during the course of each guest's contact with us. Most Chefs and true restaurateurs really understand how crucial the service is and we share a mutual respect.

Is there enough training out there for people wanting a career in this sector?

Yes, I think there is. But the real training should come from us in the restaurant everyday with classes and training from every subject possible, food, service, behaviour, psychology, general knowledge, local area, and your community. To a great degree, it's what you put into it, and it's in your hands if you will excel. Knowledge is power.

What attracted you to Bar Boulud?

Daniel Boulud and working with my dear friend Stephen Macintosh, and David Nicholls.

What are your top five tips for aspiring food service professionals?

Follow your heart.
Work with individuals who inspire you.
Try different areas.
Study, learn, ask.
Don't forget the values in life, respect and consideration go a long way. 

If you could go back and do anything differently what would it be?

I would have married my wife when I first saw her.

Do you think it is just down to passion and natural ability or can good customer service be taught?

Passion and love is crucial to arrive at excellence. Natural ability and that unquantifiable element of human interaction do play a big role. Some people are born with it, but you can definitely teach techniques and finesse the more raw talent to pull instincts forward. The students need to be open and willing and to really love what they are doing.

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th April 2017

Paulo de Tarso, Bar Boulud