"It was the gastronomical moment of my life, all using local ingredients and classic styles."
Name: Paul Askew
Occupation: Chef Patron
Location: The Art School, Liverpool
Paul Askew is widely recognised as one of the North West's best Chefs. He is a member of the Royal Academy of the Culinary Arts and is well known for his use of local produce and seasonal ingredients. Having recently reviewed his restaurant, The Art School, I was fortunate enough to steal a few minutes of his time to learn more about his passion for food and his plans to expand his business.
Mr Askew, tell me about the best meal you’ve ever experienced.
There are two that immediately come to mind, I couldn't mention one without the other and interestingly both are in the Basque country. The first was at Restaurante Martín Berasategui where we did a fourteen course tasting menu with local wines attached to each course. It was the gastronomical moment of my life, all using local ingredients and classic styles. The other, a young disciple of Martín, Eneko Atxa of Azurmendi in Bilbao, recently voted the number one restaurant in Europe. I had the pleasure of meeting him after the tasting menu, he was the most hospitable charming man, the food was out of this world.
What is the most important food ingredient in your kitchen?
Easy, Maldon Sea Salt Flakes. Obviously you need the freshest fish and the best meat but this is the most important.
What is your favourite restaurant and your favourite meal to order there? (aside from your own restaurant!)
We'll go to Martín Berasetgui and the dish would be, and this is still the best dish I've tasted in my life, a terrine of foie gras, smoked eel and granny smith apples brûléed on the top. The acidity with the fish and the luxury there are no words fabulous.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
It would have to be, by the same chef, sea urchin custard - it was absolutely delicious served in a sea urchin shell.
Which chef, past or present, would you most like to have a drink with and what would the drink be?
Well the two chefs I've already mentioned, and Albert Roux. The drink would be a bottle of Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill Pol Roger. I was lucky enough the first time I went to Le Gavroche to enjoy a glass on arrival so I associate it with the restaurant. For me the Roux dynasty and Albert in particular are the reason the UK food revolution is where it is now. I've been lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions but never had long enough to sit and have a proper drink with him.
What is your career highlight to date?
Opening The Art school, the realisation of a lifetime ambition!
What are your future plans for The Art School?
We hope to create a private dining room for up to 20 covers later on in the year, and we have plans to launch an on-line store selling some of our specialities too.