Payne - Paradise by Way of Hell's Kitchen
How did you enjoy your stint as one of Marco Pierre
White's sous chefs on Hells Kitchen?
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.
You worked for Marco for a long time, what was it like
being back in the kitchen with him?
Marco hasn't been in the kitchen for a while so
it was enjoyable and the team learnt a lot from him.
How much cooking did the celebrities do?
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.
Which celebrity was the best cook?
Abigail was quite good on the scallops. Paul was
good with his shellfish and fish and Jim is a fairly
Who did you get on well with the most?
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
Marco seemed remarkably calm. How different was he on
screen from "the old days".
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.
Would you do more TV if it was offered?
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?
Does your appointment at Paradise mean your consultancy
work for Oliver Peyton has ended?
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.
How did you get involved with Paradise?
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.
I hear you're a bit of a clubber yourself.
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.
What's on the menu at Paradise?
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
Payne is head chef of Paradise by Way of Kensal Green
19 Kilburn Lane, Kensal Green, London
020 8969 0098 - www.theparadise.co.uk