Chef Profile: Paul Scott, The Bull at Burford
PUBLISHED: 14:28 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 18:06 20 February 2013
For Paul Scott, being a chef is like riding a roller coaster...
Name: Paul Scott
Restaurant: The Bull at Burford
Address: 105, High Street, Burford, OX18 4RG.
Tel: 01993 822 220
What is your earliest memory of food?
Helping my Nan to make cakes for a party, and I remember my Nan giving me the mixing bowl to clean, with a spoon.
Tell us about your menu.
My menu is all about seasons and local ingredients. I write my menus in accordance with my suppliers. Every day I am on the phone with suppliers finding out what is coming into season and what is around at the moment.
How often do you change your menu?
I change my menu to keep in sync with the seasons and with the fashion of food. The la carte menu will normally change around twice in every season, but mainly the menu changes to keep in line with what the customers desire. I always listen to feedback and adjust accordingly to try and find that perfect menu.
What initiated your interest in cooking?
Every weekend going to my grandparents house and helping them cook from an early age. Making cakes, bread, biscuits and learning how to make stews and the perfect roast dinner. So when I was sure I wanted to be a chef, at the age of 16 I went to work in Clivedon Hotel in Taplow.
While at college I worked there at the weekends and evenings peeling potatoes and making soups and then eventually I was running a section each one in turn. Being in a kitchen with the best chefs raised my ambition of cooking fine dining food in a search of perfection.
How would you describe your approach to food?
My approach is a little different to most chefs. I like to look at classic dishes and turn them upside down. I look at dishes differently, taking the whole thing apart and putting it back singularly using ingredients from the dish and creating dishes from each ingredient. So when eating you taste every ingredient and appreciate how they work together.
What advice would you give to a novice?
Being a chef is like riding on a roller coaster; in a chefs career there will be plenty of highs and lows, but all you need to do is grip on tight and enjoy every twist and turn. But more importantly, if you decide you want to be a chef then your first employment should be working in one of the best hotels or restaurants in the country. Once you have completed your time there everything comes easy.
Have you ever had any cooking disasters?
On many occasions I have some sort of disaster in the kitchen: the oven breaks, suppliers dont bring what you need but mainly things get burnt or ruined. But what makes a good chef is someone who can take all these problems and disasters in their stride and still produce great food without a problem.
What has been your most memorable (or unusual) meal?
One of most memorable meals so far was my first visit to Poland with my wife to meet her parents and for a family christening. A recently slaughtered pig enabled us to have a feast of all homemade black pudding, sausages, smoked ham and lots of traditional polish dishes.
What is your favourite local ingredient?
I enjoy using all local ingredients but what I really get excited about is using local game when it comes into season.
What was the recent visit from the Prime Minister like did you cook for him?
No, he was on an official visit to mark the re-opening of The Bull and its fourth centenary as an inn. He however promised to come and have a meal with his wife.
Whats in your fridge at home?
Well it all depends; every time I come home and open the fridge there are always things in there that take a second look to realise what they are. My wife will often go to farmers markets and find things that she likes the look of. It will then be my job to come up with something nice that she enjoys, but more importantly it gives me the opportunity to experiment.
Why should people visit you?
My food comes from my heart. Good, honest food with a twist. I like to surprise customers with little different things to keep them interested and wondering what the other dishes on the menu will be like. For me it does not matter if you are the Prime Minister, the Queen or just the average Joe public; every dish and item of food is cooked with the same amount of passion.
What would you recommend about the local area?
To go for nice long walks in the countryside and to stumble across a lovely small pub offering the best classic game dishes sitting there by the fire with a glass of a red wine while the night sky slowly creeps upon you.
What would you choose for your last meal on earth?
To start I would choose wild game terrine with red onion compte and toasted brioche. Secondly, I would choose the classic beef wellington with fondant potato and buttered baby vegetables, and to end I would have caramel souffl, toasted marshmallows with prune and Armagnac ice cream.
Homemade soup of the day 6.50
Pan seared scallops with black pudding. Tortellini and a ginger and sultanapure 8.95.
Pan seared fillet of turbot, fondant potato, confit shallots, roast black pudding, savoy cabbage and a red wine jus 16.95
Pan seared fillet of guilt-head bream with roasted salsify, wild mushrooms, wilted spinach and a cauliflower puree 16.95.
Warm chocolate fondant with an orange mousse and a yoghurt sorbet 7.75.
Pear Tart Tatin with an apple and stilton press and cinnamon ice cream 7.25