Meet Paul Barnes
With a keen eye on local produce and a burning passion for welsh cuisine, Paul Barnes is our talented head chef. Joining us on a mission to put Heywood Spa firmly on the map as one of the best places to eat in Pembrokeshire. We popped into the kitchen to discover his favourite foods and the things that make him tick.
What do you like cooking the most?
Living by the sea we have a wealth of freshly caught fish and seafood. We source our supplies from Tenby Harbour and Milford Haven, the quality is second to none. The choice of fish is endless, but monkfish and hake are favourites and are adaptable and versatile. They can be combined with many diverse flavours giving us the opportunity to create original and special dishes that are simply cooked but with defining flavours.
What else would you consider as the best Pembrokeshire produce?
Pembrokeshire produces the first, early new potatoes in the country that have a flavour like no other. Locally sourced, they can accompany most dishes, but marry fantastically well with our local seafood.
Who would be your fantasy dinner guests?
For banter and comment on the world, Stephen Fry would be a great conversationalist and a wit. I’m sure he would be a keen purveyor of fine wines and would appreciate an original menu. Heston Blumenthal would also be high on my list, to bring a touch of culinary science to the evening. Last but certainly not least, perhaps I’d invite Mary Berry, with so much experience of life she must have a wealth of stories, and could also bring a cake.
What do you do when you’re not working?
To be a chef does mean anti-social hours and a commitment to your work, even on high days and holidays. There is always this wish to have more time with family and friends. My passion is travel. I would relish the opportunity to do more, to take the chance to sample street food and absorb new ideas and experience different combinations of flavour. I am always open to new experiences. Kayaking, rally driving perhaps even paragliding are all on my “to do” list.
What would you do, if you were not a chef?
I think it was John Lennon who summed it up by saying “life is what happens to you while you are making other plans”. I have been cooking since I was fourteen so have never considered another career. I am most happy when I am creative as I relish challenges, so any other opportunity would have to give me that versatility and inspiration that I love. For today though I can happily say that I am content with my role as a chef because it continues to inspire and challenge me.