November 29, 2021 7 min read
Paul Hayward, AKA Chef Paul has been working as a Pastry Chef for over 30 years. He has experience in the biggest and most respected hotels and resorts all over the world. “I have received many recognitions and awards and have a very diverse approach and unique style to pastry. I’ve trained under Master French, German and Swiss Pastry chefs and achieved the highest culinary qualifications possible in my field.”
Paul has worked in the premium Five Star Hotels and Resorts in London, Florida, Bahamas, and Dubai. Even though he is known for his pastry creations, few know he is also a fully qualified culinary chef which gives him a unique skill set to combine both cuisines into his projects. Chef Paul’s style is very original using his years of experience travelling the globe, discovering many cultures, local flavors and has created his own unique style, combining classic combinations, local flavors, modern twists and his goal is very simple “Bring my customers dreams into reality” where his most important skill is training unskilled teams.
Some of his vast culinary experience covers modernistic cuisine, liquid nitrogen, themed cake sculpting, air brushing, chocolate, bread, vegan, gluten free and cooking with many other dietary restrictions and enjoys a fun approach and original style and individually custom designs menus and items for his clients, to fit any need. Paul has great experience in openings including restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, franchises including Ben & Jerry’s and Starbucks, ice cream shops and even a cooking school for kids from idea to conception, kitchen design, financial, hygiene and current trends all while developing new ones.
Q1: How is it owning your own business?
A: I started my own Pastry consultancy around 18 months ago called ‘Ph by Design’ and the reason why ‘by Design’ was I am doing many different things which are custom designed for each client as every project is different.
My goal and purpose have always been the same “to make dreams become reality.” I work with cafés, restaurants, brands, manufacturers, distributors, and hotels who don’t have the right skill sets or creativity to move their businesses to the next level. ‘Ph by Design’ is here to help in any way possible and give honest feedback whether the customers like it or not as they have asked for assistance because of a negative somewhere in their business whether financial, taste, innovation or consistency and I offer a comprehensive A – Z advice on each aspect of running a business; and this encompasses staff training, costs, innovative designs, sales and marketing as well as social media.
My experience has led me to understand multi-faceted concepts and the ability to turn ideas into actual day to day successes. My simple approach provides concise packages that take clients on a step-by-step journey includes training manuals, videos and is cost-effective.
Running my own business has been a life-long dream which has involved extremely long hours and no days off for months. I became a Chef to come, create and excite and delight people however over time, and coupled with continuous growth, we end up off the original plan and become more of office chefs where we are focused more on the day to day running, costs, staffing, HR, new menus and way to many meetings. I never expected to be so busy straight away, but I will not complain too much about that.
Now, I have settled into my new role and I can use all the skills and knowledge I have gathered and be very hands on again, designing, creating, and cooking everything myself while doing what I love best, which is teaching. Previously, I have run giant resorts with 90-150 staff, multiple kitchens, 50-75 different themed restaurants and now I’m a team of 2 which involves my wife, who is also a pastry chef, and myself. I’ve always worn a multitude of hats and now at ‘Ph by Design’ I can use them all and I don’t have to worry about hotel politics and people really appreciate what I do.
Q2: How did you grow with Social Media?
A: A few years ago, a friend and resort executive chef, Dirk Haltenhof, kept showing me Instagram and I did not understand or see the point. I decided to give it a try by posting a few pretty pastries and started following many chefs around the world and suddenly realized how this opened up trends across the world with what people were doing in the culinary world; this gave me a new source of inspiration.
I found my niche in this social media jungle by sharing techniques, methods to making classics and creating new innovative tricks. I soon realized where before I was touching dozens of lives and now, I’m reaching thousands and teaching while doing so. It’s all worth it when I get some really heartwarming feedback and ‘thanks’ while I try to answer every message. This is a dream of mine because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do; to teach.
I get asked for lots of advice on the career path all the way through to technical questions but feel as if I am helping people and teaching the profession I love at the same time. ICCA scholarships offer incredible opportunities for youngsters with passion and unbridled enthusiasm but without the economic means. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a dedicated individual work through the ranks to success. I make a concise effort to reply to every comment and direct message on Instagram, though this can be time-consuming with over 75,000 followers.
Going forward I would like ‘Ph by Design’ to always remain light and enjoyable. I want to go back to basics and always adapt, change, and learn. I thoroughly enjoy the diversity that my consultancy offers; understanding other cultures and local cuisines from around the world, masterclasses - tried and tested or brand-new training, teaching, influencing, and judging. The shiniest gold medal or the biggest award platter are all well and good but watching chefs that have worked with me grow and succeed is what makes me happy; human appreciation makes it all worthwhile. I feel fortunate to have inspired so many people and be surrounded by so many amazing friends and colleagues I have worked with.
Q3: How do you work with international trends?
A: Dubai and the United Arab Emirates is a place like no other and customers are always searching for a ‘wow’ factor, they expect something bubbling, smoking, smashing, melting and food has to be instagrammable and if the guests don’t take a photo in Dubai you have failed.
I love to take what I have learned from the different cultures, traditional dishes and flavors and mix them together to create international desserts like Red Velvet Tres Leches, Cardamom Cookies & Cream, Salted Caramel & Date and now in Dubai, Lotus Biscoff is the biggest flavor requested so I made into a crème Brulee which they love, it’s a fun job.
Q4: Where do you get your ideas?
A:Everywhere, I love to explore. When I first arrived in Dubai almost 8 years ago, I walked all the shopping malls, hotel lobbies, pastry shops and visited restaurants to discover what people were serving and then asked what sold so I could work out what was trending and direction I needed to go.
I’ve created my own ‘Arabesque’ terminology, which for me is Western food combined with Arabic food so it appeals to both nationalities and is basically classic dishes infused with Arabic ingredients like Mango Saffron, Raspberry Hibiscus, Pistachio Matcha but balance is essential.
Q5: Can you offer any advice to other chefs wanting to start a similar business?
A: Be ready, it’s a tough tough market, many conversations with no results, most of the time you are on your own so you have to do everything, sales & marketing, shopper, driver, accountant, international traveler, Chef, Steward, and you need to know the market, the people, the trends, the suppliers, the brands, what’s cheap, what’s expensive, basically you need a huge amount of knowledge and experience. I have had many executive chef roles have been offered to me, but I have always turned them down.
My passion lies in pastry, I’ve had to be strong and true to myself and not follow the extra money that these jobs offer. So Far I’ve been very fortunate that I have not had to advertise ‘Ph by Design’ since its conception; I’ve had more jobs through Instagram than anything else, new offers every day. Peers are so impressed by how busy I am and my great connections. Well paid Senior pastry jobs are on the decline, so I am sure that you will see many more pastry chefs move into consultancy roles.
There is an over-saturation of hotels, cafes, restaurants and bars in the UAE at the moment and not enough customers to fill them; demographics are changing and the famous big brunches are dying out. One piece of advice would be ‘don’t run before you can walk’ on so many levels.
If you're interested in learning more about chef Paul Hayward, menu creation, product development, tips and tricks, or just want to see some incredible pastry work, be sure to check him out on Instagram @chefpaulhayward
If this is your first time joining us for a Q&A as a reader thank you so much for taking the time to read the chef's story.
We love to use our featured chef series to introduce our wonderful audience with some of the amazing and talented chefs who choose Clement Design every day.
We wanted to thank Chef Paul Hayward not only for taking part in our Featured Chef Series, but for also being an incredible supporter of Clement Design for many years. If you are interested in learning more about how you could become a featured chef in the future please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
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