Paul Ainsworth was literally born into the hospitality industry. Growing up in and around his parents’ guesthouse in Southampton, he developed a strong sense of hard work and passion to succeed. Before he had even reached his teens, he had six jobs on the go. On leaving school, Paul studied catering and hospitality at Southampton City College, working locally at the Star hotel, and Careys Manor in the New Forest where he enhanced his passion for learning.
In 1998, Paul achieved his first big break when his college tutor helped him to secure a job at Gary Rhodes’ Michelin-starred Rhodes in the Square in Pimlico, London. After two fulfilling years, Paul moved on to work with leading British Chef Gordon Ramsay at his eponymous, three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Royal Hospital Road. Whilst working at the restaurant, Paul was part of the team that successfully achieved three Michelin stars, one of his proudest moments to date. An opportunity to work for fellow Gordon Ramsay Chef Marcus Wareing at Petrus in St James’s arose in 2003, and Paul relocated to the Berkeley with him later that year.
After six years with the Gordon Ramsay Group, Paul was invited to head up the kitchen of No. 6 in Padstow. Three years later, in 2009, Paul and his wife Emma took over the restaurant from their business partner Derek Mapp and relaunched it as Paul Ainsworth at No. 6. The following year, Paul and Emma acquired Rojano’s (which was originally opened in 1974 by local businessman Stanley Rojano), and, with a nod to mentor Gary Rhodes, relaunched and renamed it Rojano’s in the Square. In 2015, the couple launched their most ambitious project to date, Padstow Townhouse. The 18th- century building has been lovingly restored by Emma and interior designer Eve Cullen-Cornes, helping to cement Paul and Emma’s positions as celebrated restaurateurs and hoteliers.
2018 saw the launch of the Paul Ainsworth Academy in partnership with Truro & Penwith College, offering hospitality students paid experience across all five of Ainsworth’s businesses. In May 2019, Paul and Emma reopened The Mariners pub in Rock, Cornwall in partnership with Sharps Brewery which was awarded ‘Best Newcomer’ at the 2020 Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards. 2019 also saw the launch of Mahé Chef’s Table and Cookery School, the couple’s fourth Padstow venture. With Executive Chef, John Walton at the helm, it’s named after an island in the Seychelles where Paul’s parents first met and offers guests a first look at dishes to be added to the menu at No. 6. In 2020 Paul and Emma purchased the freehold to Rojano’s in the Square and carried out a full rebrand, renaming it Caffè Rojano and implementing a New York/Italian inspired menu
A passionate supporter of local famers, fishermen and artisanal producers, Paul’s fun and inventive cooking has held a Michelin star since 2013, and in September 2016 was awarded a fourth rosette by the AA. In April 2018, Paul won the ‘Best Chef’ category at the GQ Food & Drink awards and Padstow Townhouse, which offers six spacious suites with luxury bathrooms, a kitchen pantry and honesty bar, and in-room spa treatments, has been awarded five AA gold stars for accommodation. In July 2019 Paul celebrated two prestigious wins at The Cateys for ‘Restaurateur of the Year – Independent’ and the ‘Chef Award’.
Paul appeared on BBC2’s Great British Menu in 2011 and won the south west regional heat, which resulted in him serving his dessert at the final banquet at Leadenhall Market, London. He has since appeared on Saturday Kitchen, MasterChef, MasterChef: The Professionals, This Morning, The One Show and James Martin’s Saturday Morning. In 2018 Paul co-presented BBC1’s The Best Christmas Food Ever which saw Paul share his favourite Christmas recipes and cook for a number of celebrity guests.
Paul and Emma support many charities including Hospitality Action, Springboard and most recently became ambassadors for the Cornwall Air Ambulance appeal. In April 2019, Paul ran the Virgin Money London Marathon, raising over £43,000 for Pancreatic Cancer UK in honour of his late father.