Paulo de Tarso Chanes, Maitre D’, Bar Boulud, London

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th June 2014

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MONOGRAM BROWN CMYK     Paulo de Tarso Chanes is the Maitre D’ at three-Michelin-starred Daniel Boulud’s Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Hyde Park. He grew up in Brazil before moving to New York then California in his teenage years. He first came to London in 2005 where he worked at The Wolseley and Scott’s before making the move to open Bar Boulud. Last year he was one of the team led by Ashley Palmer-Watts that climbed Kilimanjaro for industry charity, Farm Africa. The Staff Canteen caught up with him to find out what a life in the service industry has meant for him. White Cosmo How did you first get into restaurant service? I hadn’t given much thought to the industry when I first got a job in a restaurant in New York. It was just a flexible job. It wasn’t until later in Los Angeles when I was working as a head waiter while studying acting that I started to realise how much I loved the environment. I worked my way up through the industry and got to know the business. I loved the relationships you build with clients, the camaraderie of the team, the passion for the food and creating a memorable experience. There’s so much to this industry, it’s always changing and never gets dull. Do you get to see much of Daniel Boulud and how is your relationship with him?  We have a great relationship. I look up to him as a leader in this industry and as a friend. I have learned a lot from him. He loves what he does and he’s so passionate. He’s kind to every human being that walks into the restaurant. It’s all about quality and service for him but he’s also humble. It’s so nice to see someone of that level who has achieved all the things that he’s achieved and still walk to every table and shake people’s hands. He works hard with passion and belief in what we do, so he’s a great role model and leader. He trusts and respects us to represent his name when he’s not here. So yes I love the man and he’s part of my family now. You’ve said elsewhere that you want to improve the service industry in London one table at a time; can you expand on this?  I think service is as important as food, because you can have the best food in the world but if you don’t have great service, it’s forgettable. It’s about creating an experience, a memory. Most of all great service is about treating human beings with the utmost respect. We want to make everyone who comes through the door feel welcome and important. I hate it when I hear things like, “oh but that table is spending over two grand.” It doesn’t matter whether people are spending that much or Bar Bouludjust a little, everyone deserves the utmost respect. Restaurants are about longevity. It’s like that show Cheers where everybody knows your name. You’ve also said you want to make London better than New York for our industry – what does London still need to do to achieve that? I think London has now surpassed Paris in terms of the capital of Europe for food. There are a lot of Michelin-starred chefs, and a lot of brilliant restaurants but in general we need to have good restaurants everywhere, not just in a few locations. There are areas where there’s a lot of great restaurants but then there’s a lot of areas, where there’s only two or three, or nothing at all. We just need to raise the standard across the board, not just the higher end, well-known places. I think we’re going in the right direction but there's one thing that New York has ahead of us. I can take you to places in New York where you will go, “Oh my God, who owns this?” And it will be nobody you’ve ever heard of, and that’s the level we need to get to, a level where quality and higher standards are the norm.   Last year you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with Ashley Palmer-Watts, Paul Foster and John Freeman in aid of charity Farm Africa; how was that experience for you? The climb was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. What makes Kilimanjaro tough is that you’re going from eight to nine different plateaus; you’re going from the heat of the Amazon to the cold of the Antarctic. You’re going to bed in sub-zero temperatures but after 5.30 the temperatures rise up to 30 degrees; you’re so hot that you’re drinking eight litres of water a day and burning 6,000 calories. I felt like I had an elephant on top of my head for the first three days! A few of the guys got really sick too from the altitude and just watching those guys get sick was really emotional. But we worked as a team; we picked each other up on the bad days and we had some amazing people that guided us there. It was the most incredible, awe-inspiring experience. Bar BouludWhen you look back at the money we raised and the help we provided, it was all worth it. I want to do something like that every year and I’m working with Ashley on hopefully doing something similar. I think it’s my duty to make it happen. You’ve said that one day you’d like to open your own restaurant; where would that be and who would be the chef? I’d love to open a restaurant in central London somewhere. And I would love to work with a British chef. I think that would be important for me and important for us to create something special here. England has been good to me, and I’m excited to see where the food industry is going.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th June 2014

Paulo de Tarso Chanes, Maitre D’, Bar Boulud, London