Born in Malaysia the amiable chef ironically enough only worked professionally in his country when he was stationed at The Four Seasons resort in Langkawi.
With his many years of living and working abroad he has amassed a wealth of kitchen knowledge and it shows on every plate. Having been a part of the Catch team since its inception, Chef Paddy is extremely proud of his team. He stresses that menu design is a team effort, done always with the diner in mind.
As most of the diners at Catch are Chinese, the menu always reflects their taste. Even when it is a Western style dish, it is done with the local palate in mind. Chef enjoys the freedom he has at Catch to experiment with the menu and change it up. The biggest challenge for him at the moment is sourcing of product, but he says it is a challenge he loves.
“It is about working with what you have, not what you want”
However, he says that it is becoming a little easier now especially with vegetables, as farmers in the Yunnan Province are beginning to grow more Western type vegetables.
Although he has been classically trained and worked internationally, he says none of that matters on mainland China.
Here, the only thing that matters is what the customer wants. “There are only two types of food in this world, good and bad” it doesn’t matter what type of cuisine you cook as long as your customers enjoy it, he says with a smile, “The fundamental cooking methods are the same, steam, poach etc, respect the ingredients“ So, it is important to deliver a great plate no matter where you are in the world with the same standard of excellence.
For example, he says: “It is difficult to find a tomato that compares with an Italian tomato in China, but you will still find tomatoes, so work with you can get.’ It is fortunate that the Four Seasons as a group goes the whole nine yards to source the best ingredients for their kitchens.
Chef and his team change the Catch menu at least twice a year and with the Chinese diner developing a more sophisticated palate it is an exciting time for them.
However, he points out that although the Chinese are more open to new ideas and tastes, the food should still be simple and not over complicated. He is very proud of the food he cooks and says although Michelin dining is a big deal in the West it is not that big of a deal in China, not yet.
There are many Michelin starred Chefs who have come to China to open restaurants but their venues are not Michelin starred.
“Catch is one of a kind; instead of following the norm of a cuisine like French or Italian, we focus on the most popular seafood products and take inspiration from all different cuisines,” says Chef Paddy, “Every dish is destined to be state of the art for your eyes and palate.”
Signature dishes include steamed lobster with foie gras mousse and fruit carpaccio with port wine reduction and crispy skinned ocean trout served with fennel confit, crispy shallots, and white balsamic tomatoes.
I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Chef Paddy and wish both him and Catch many more years of delicious dining!
5 Zhujiang West Road , 510623 Pearl River New City, Tianhe District , Guangzhou