Meet the team – Executive Head Chef, Paul Hood

Meet the team – Executive Head Chef, Paul Hood

Whether you are looking to plan your dream wedding day, an inspiring corporate event or an unforgettable private celebration, we understand how important the menu is for the occasion. Our chosen team of catering experts, Heritage Portfolio, ensures every dining element is carefully considered to be delicious, beautifully plated and a memorable experience.

Their Executive Head Chef, Paul Hood, has been working with Heritage Portfolio for over 7 years, creating showstopping dishes, paired with the perfect tipple, time and again. Paul took part in the BBC Masterchef programme a few years ago, allowing him to show his creativity and passion for sustainable ingredients.

We got a chance to discover a little more about Paul, including his career highlights and favourite ingredients to work with.


1. Tell us a little about yourself and your career journey to Heritage Portfolio:

I am 36 years old; a husband to Laura, a dad to 3 boys and have been a chef for 21 years. I started my career at the age of 14 on a part time basis, then took a full-time role at the age of 15 at the famous Prestonfield House hotel in Edinburgh. Here, I learned my craft by working with some of the best chefs in the country.

I spent 5 years of my career at Prestonfield, then worked at La Garrigue for the famous chef Jean-Michel Gauffre, in his 3-rosette restaurant for 18 months. After taking some time to travel around Thailand, I returned to Edinburgh and took the role of Sous Chef at the Royal Bank of Scotland Business School, a 5-star hotel for high-profile bankers. I spent 1 year there before joining Edinburgh’s Caledonian Hotel as Head Chef of the famous Pompadour restaurant at the age of 22. I had the most amazing time working there, putting my own stamp on the Edinburgh food scene as a budding chef. Whilst there, I experienced aspects of hospitality and management within a large hotel environment, which included catering for banqueting alongside running the restaurant. My then mentor, Kenny Coltman, bought his own restaurant in the Scottish Borders, where I became Head Chef at his restaurant ‘Coltman’. This was an amazing experience; starting from scratch and building a business which would win numerous awards and being the leading restaurant in the Borders.

After my time there, I took the role of head chef at Edinburgh’s finest boutique hotel, The Dunstane Hotel, in the prestigious West Coates area. I was tasked with taking what was a bistro-style restaurant and introducing a fine-dining concept. We won numerous awards and accolades during my time there. Since leaving, I have worked for Heritage Portfolio for just over seven years, working my way up the ladder to head up the kitchen and take on all the menu development for the company.

2. What does your day-to-day role at Heritage Portfolio look like?

I run the kitchen operation day-to-day, working on a range of projects, client meetings, menu tastings, and development, along with innovation planning for the company.

3. Tell us about your time on MasterChef:

My time on MasterChef was amazing, an experience I will never forget. High pressure against the clock. I gave myself too much to do, but I wouldn’t change a thing as I always push myself.

4. Highlight of your career so far:

The MTV Dinner Awards when I was 16 with a kitchen full of 2 Michelin-starred chefs from the Gordon Ramsay Group. I remember the experience as if it was yesterday; getting offered a job at the end of it was the cherry on top.

5. Do you think we’ve become a nation of foodies?

As a nation, we are definitely obsessed with food, whether it be through cooking, eating, or watching cooking shows. Chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay were influential in this, with their TV shows that started years ago.

6. What made you want to become a chef?

My father was a chef, and I used to go to the restaurants he ran and watch the team in action. This experience gave me the cooking bug and made me realize that I wanted to do nothing more than cook.

7. Where do you get your inspiration from when it comes to creating innovative dishes all the time:

I have experience, past influences, and techniques taught to me by amazing chefs throughout my career. I pair flavours and textures to bring the desired balance to a dish.

8. What do you love cooking/eating when you’re not working:

Seafood, halibut, scallops, salmon, and sea bass are my ultimate favourite ingredients.

9. Favourite ingredients to work with right now and why:

I have a real thing for veal sweetbreads just now, always a cut of meat which is never used enough but is so versatile and delicious. Also, I love working with monkfish, equally versatile, can be cooked any way, hold up against huge flavours and still sing.

10. How important are quality and seasonal ingredients to a dish, and why:

Seasonality is huge when considering menus. Any ingredient is at its best when in prime season. We should all be mindful of the provenance of any ingredient, for many reasons.

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