Interview with Paul Morel
“The origin story and vision of each product are becoming increasingly important.”
Working together with professionals, being surrounded by guests, creating new recipes and challenging the extremes, is what Paul Morel loves doing most.
After some aimless wanderings in the colleges of first Breda and later Tilburg, Paul ended up in Zeeland, at the restaurant of Syrco Bakker and Sergio Herman through a mutual friend and chef at Pure C., Iman Soomers.
‘Working at Pure C was like entering a new world. I knew pretty much nothing, but Syrco’s guidance was extraordinary,’ says 27-year-old Paul Morel, a professional mixologist originating from Zeeuws-Vlaanderen.
How did you end up in the Upper Room Bar of ‘The Jane’?
‘I got the chance to do internships in cities like London, Barcelona and Chicago. With these acquired experiences, I helped launch the Upper Room Bar in ‘The Jane’. It was a fantastic time, but after five years, I strongly felt the need to do something on my own.’
What are you working on at the moment?
‘I have a wide variety of assignments both at home and abroad, ranging from consulting, private events, to product development, always in the context of ‘drinks’, where creativity is central.’
‘Together with my girlfriend, I’m also looking for a place where we can launch our new concept. In that context, we’ve already contacted Fosbury & Sons in the WATT tower in Antwerp. We will certainly keep an eye on their plans.’
What are the latest trends in drinks?
‘Freshness and product quality obviously play an important role. But increasingly, attention is also being paid to the origin and the story of the producer. Sherry, mezcal, sake and beer are becoming more prominent, with an enormous focus on South America. Restaurant-wise, non-alcoholic and creative aperitifs are gaining importance.’
What is your favourite cocktail at the moment?
‘Anything from Jigger’s in Ghent. A good ‘vibe’, creativity, craftsmanship and freshness are their standards. But currently, I prefer ‘power’ cocktails with lots of flavours and in small quantities. And I’d jump happily out of bed for combinations with sake and tea (laughs).’
Photography by Fotostudio Uyttebroeck – Verschueren