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Paul O’Neill began his career in professional kitchens aged just 15. At school he struggled academically and so decided to swap the classroom for the kitchen. He sent his CV to numerous hotels, but it was the prestigious Claridge’s in London which gave him his big break offering him a training placement in their kitchens.

While Paul may not have excelled at school, it soon became apparent that he had found his vocation and by the age of 22 he was working as a Senior Sous Chef for a 4 Red Star Property with 2 rosettes.

It was during his time as a Sous Chef at Ashdown Park Hotel in Surrey that Paul decided to take part in the Roux Scholarship competition. For the first time ever the competition was televised and in June 2013 he was named as the 30th Roux Scholar live on television, putting him among the ranks of culinary heavyweights such as Andrew Fairlie, Simon Hulstone and Sat Bains.

Michel Roux Jnr said: “Paul is undoubtedly a great chef and an assiduous one at that but his unflappable nature along with his generous comportment make him the perfect Roux Scholar.”