Having spent 20 years perfecting his skills in the culinary industry, Paul Kelly is best known for his mastery of pastry.
He started as a commis chef in The Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal. Following this he worked in many of five-star hotels and top restaurants in Ireland and Worldwide. In Ireland he worked in The Park Hotel in Kenmare where he found his true calling in the culinary world, PASTRY. Following his time there, he travelled the world and worked in many five-star hotels in Dubai, Hong Kong, Sydney, Paris and Johannesburg in search of new ideas and inspirations to satisfy his insatiable curiosity. He later moved back to Dublin to work in l’Ecrivain as their first full-time pastry chef.
He finally found his place as Executive Pastry Chef at The Merrion Hotel in Dublin, where he has been working since the hotel opened in 1997. He is a creative risk taker, which has led him to develop many unique concepts such as The Merrion Art Afternoon Tea. This is a creative and inspiring new take on the classic afternoon tea whilst incorporating The Merrion’s extensive art collection. In addition to spearheading the Art Tea, Paul also introduced the making of their own chocolate in the Merrion which is very unique in Ireland.
He is widely known for his role as a judge on TV3’s infamous bakery show – The Great Irish Bake Off, the ultimate baking battle where passionate amateur bakers compete to be crowned Ireland’s Best Amateur Baker. He also featured on the afternoon show Late Lunch Live before it changed to The 7 O’Clock Show where he treated Martin and Lucy to some delicious desserts.
Paul was a regular on RTÉ’s afternoon show Live at Three before it changed to the Afternoon Show. Also on RTÉ, he joined Neven McGuire on Homechef to demonstrate ‘Art’ Tea at the Merrion Hotel by making pastries, cakes and biscuits inspired by the paintings in the hotel. He also joined Rachel Allen on her show Rachel Allen’s Sweet Things Christmas Special on RTÉ to show her his seasonal twist on some classic desserts including edible interpretations of a Christmas tree, a cracker and a festive snow globe.
Paul is a regular contributor to radio and has featured on Anton Savage Savage Sunday on Today FM, The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk and also Aidan Cooney drive time show on Q102.
In partnership with Domini Kemp, Paul developed and tested all the recipes in Conrad Gallagher’s first book, Irish cooking recipes from Dublin’s Peacock Alley.
He developed a passion for teaching and over the last five years has worked as a part-time teacher at Culinary Arts in DIT Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin, where he also helps to develop new pastry and baking programmes. In addition, he was newly appointed External Examiner for GMIT (Galway Mayo Institute of Technology) where he works very closely with the University for development.
For eight years, Paul was the pastry chef on the Irish Culinary Team, where he represented Ireland on the world culinary stage. He has won many competitions on the world stage and has come full circle – he is now a judge for the World Association of Chefs at international events.
Paul is a member of the Cacao Barry® ambassadors club which is for the world’s elite in the art of chocolate and pastry and is present in more than 20 countries around the world. For this, Paul shares his knowledge of chocolate and techniques to other craftsmen all over the world. He also works with Cacao Barry® on development of new products, product concepts, packaging, recipes and training events.
Additionally, Paul regularly participates in culinary events around the country including Taste of Dublin, Food & Bev Live, Bray Summerfest, Dublin Allery Expo, The Galway Volvo Ocean Race, Taste of Wicklow and more.