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Tim Payne - Paradise by Way of Hell's Kitchen
interview with Andy Lyne

Andy Lynes is a Glenfiddich Award nominated freelance writer specialising in food, drink and travel. He writes the Food of the Week column and travel articles for the Independent on Sunday Compact Traveller supplement and is a regular contributor to Restaurant magazine. If you would like to know more about Andy take a look at his web site - www.andylynes.com

Tim PayneQ: How did you enjoy your stint as one of Marco Pierre White's sous chefs on Hells Kitchen?

A: It was hard work. It was everyday for four weeks and we were doing 18 hours days to begin with. Things got easier when the menu changed.

Q: You worked for Marco for a long time, what was it like being back in the kitchen with him?

A: Marco hasn't been in the kitchen for a while so it was enjoyable and the team learnt a lot from him.

Q: How much cooking did the celebrities do?

A: They did quite a bit. They did more and more as the show went on. We did the prep for the first 2 or 3 days, and then we helped them out here and there with the cooking. It was only 37 covers for each kitchen so it wasn't too hard.

Q: Which celebrity was the best cook?

A: Abigail was quite good on the scallops. Paul was good with his shellfish and fish and Jim is a fairly accomplished cook.

Q: Who did you get on well with the most?

A: Barry and Paul; I got on really well with them for the whole time. Jim's a nice guy, I don't have any problem with him.

Q: Marco seemed remarkably calm. How different was he on screen from "the old days".

A: It was intense, but not as intense as Harvey's. Marco wanted to stay in control. He didn't want to scream at them and abuse them; he wanted to teach the celebrities something and for them to come away from the experience with something other than bad memories.

Q: Would you do more TV if it was offered?

A: That depends on what it was. A few of the programmes on at the moment that spring to mind are made by Idiots-R-Us. They're not the best chefs in the world are they?

Tim PayneQ: Does your appointment at Paradise mean your consultancy work for Oliver Peyton has ended?

A: Yes. We did 5 restaurants in 18 months. Oliver's a nice guy to work with and he's got some great sites. The restaurants were very successful; we were doing 400 for lunch at the National Café. I'd work with him again.

Q: How did you get involved with Paradise?

A: I met one of the owners Steve Ball about 8 years ago. He was working at Fabric night club in London and I catered the launch party of John Travolta's film Battlefield Earth there. I helped out with Steve and his business partner Riz Shaikh's first pub The Queens Head in Islington and we kept in touch.

Q: I hear you're a bit of a clubber yourself.

A: I've been going to clubs since about 1994. They're one of the few places you can go after finishing service after midnight and a lot of people that go are into food. I like The Cross and Turnmills and DJ's like Danny Rampling and Sasha.

Q: What's on the menu at Paradise?

A: It's Modern European food with a British influence. I've been searching out as many suppliers from around the country as I can like Goosnargh Poultry and meat from O'Doherty's in Ireland. It won't be fine dining, but there's some Marco dishes like grilled lobster with garlic butter, béarnaise and chips and the oyster cocktail he created for Hell's Kitchen. When you work for someone that long the influence is bound to rub off.

Tim Payne is head chef of Paradise by Way of Kensal Green
19 Kilburn Lane, Kensal Green, London
020 8969 0098 - www.theparadise.co.uk

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