It was at just 11 years old that the young Chef Askew was put on a plane “with a sign on my lapel, you know, like Paddington Bear” for his first ever long-haul flight to the United Arab Emirates. His father was stationed there in Dubai establishing a container port for Blue Star Lines. With understandable trepidation mixed with a growing excitement, Paul took his first steps into a new world that would awaken a curiosity that was never to be satiated. Memories of markets or “souqs” resplendent with aromatic spices that challenged his early interpretations of food. A fascination with the preparation of fish, selecting vegetables and tasting new flavour combinations was the first stage in a relationship that was to last a lifetime.
“I think because your mind at a younger age is much more, you’re like a sponge, aren’t you?… Everything you see and experience gets logged…Because the ingredients were very, very different to what I had seen the UK, you’re exposed to this… a sort of Aladdin’s cave of colour, noise, smells and it challenges you, but it also invigorates you.”