Bio | Interview | Featured Recipes
Born in the US and raised in London, England, chef Paul Syms launched his cooking career at the prestigious London Savoy Hotel, previously chefed by Auguste Escoffier, famous for modernizing French cuisine. From there he gained experience in cooking and concepting restaurants, hotels and even a celebrity establishment with Wolfgang puck. As the newly appointed executive chef of the historic Steinhilber’s in Virginia Beach, Syms expands his knowledge and philosophy to incorporate freshly grown herbs, fruits and vegetables grown on property. "It's a passion" Syms exclaimed and continues to expand and stretch his repertoire by staying on the cusp of culinary trends and techniques, something he credits his parents for exposing him to interesting and unique foods as a child.
Q: How did you get started with your career? Please describe your journey of how you got to where you are today.
A: As with a lot of career chefs I started as a dishwasher in Great Britain as it was the only way I could get into the kitchen so young, I progressed up the the ranks and around the world ending up at Steinhilber’s restaurant in Virginia Beach and as always in search of providing the guest with the best experience and providing myself with the joys of working with good food.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: I don't consider it a job or work as it comes so naturally to me, I enjoy the instant gratification of happy guests.
Q: Describe your cooking style.
A: A lot of chefs run before they can even crawl so my style is traditional European food prepared the correct way with some English new flare to enhance it.
Q: What is your favorite Chefwear item and why?
A: Back strap apron and the short sleeved grand chef coat.
Q: If you could choose any chef (dead or alive) to spend the day with, who would it be? Why?
A: Auguste Escoffier, after having had the privilege of working in his hotel where he devised the traditional cuisine of today as we know it, other notables would be Marco Pierre White and Julia Childs.
Q: What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
A: Sharp knife, good heavy pan and a tasting spoon.
Q: What is the funniest kitchen incident you've encountered?
A: I have seen a lot of horror stories happen in an array of different kitchens, they usually end up coming from a commis who is not paying attention and or doesn’t have the experience to know better.
Q: What do you do to stay educated about new trends in the restaurant industry?
A: I follow food magazines, star chefs and other restaurants, also like to innovate myself
Q: What is your favorite meal?
A: Being from England I miss a lot of my childhood foods like Fish and chips, steak and kidney pudding, and I always have a hankering for English sweets (candy).
Q: Please list awards and accolades.
A: Golden spoon Best new restaurant in Tampa bay; Winner north American curry festival.
Q: Which accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?
A: I have had a lot of proud moments in my career, a lot of famous people, a lot of dignitaries, but I think to work at a restaurant that has been around for 78 years and help carry the vision for the Steinhilber family into the future has to be my proudest moment so far.
Q: What was the best advice you ever received in your career?
A: No shortcuts, hard work and heart…
Q: What advice would you give to a home enthusiast?
A: There is a lot you can learn from professional chefs but sometimes at home it is a lot harder to produce a dish for 4 than it is for 100 people in the restaurant.