Students Staff

24 August 2011

Top chef for firstsite

Colchester Campus

Colchester’s new centre for the visual arts, firstsite, has taken another exciting step forward with the appointment of former Essex Chef of the Year Paul Boorman to Executive Head Chef.

Paul said: “The marriage of having somewhere as contemporary as firstsite with the food style that I have to offer is exciting."

He added: “Colchester deserves a venue as aspirational as firstsite.”

The venue’s bar and restaurant, which will provide daytime and evening menus and conference dining, will be run by the University’s caterers Hospitality Essex, who fought off competition from national suppliers to win the contract.

General manager of Hospitality Essex Tim Morris said: “Paul’s flair and innovation is the perfect match for something as contemporary as firstsite.”

Paul, who specialises in modern British cuisine, has more than 20 years experience and has won numerous awards including Colchester Chef of the Year in 2007 and 2008, an AA Rosette, Essex Chef of the Year 2009 and is a member of the Master Chef of Great Britain.

He was head chef at the Juniper Restaurant at Clarice House in Colchester when it was named Essex Restaurant of the Year 2009 and has been executive head chef at the Lifehouse spa at Thorpe-le-Soken since its opening last year.

Tim added that the firstsite restaurant aims to be a destination in its own right, opening Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights as well as providing high quality food for the daytime gallery visitors and for a busy conference and events business.

He added: “Part of the reason we chose Paul was not only for our flagship restaurant but also to continue the development of Hospitality Essex on campus incorporating the planned hotel school and to open up opportunities to tender for more business like firstsite.”

firstsite’s opening exhibition, titled Camulodunum after Colchester’s pre-Roman name, opens on September 25. It will showcase new commissions by international contemporary artists alongside works by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, JMW Turner and Andy Warhol, and local historic artefacts.

The University has donated more than £1 million to the development of firstsite, demonstrating its commitment to the contemporary visual arts and the cultural development of Colchester.

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