Paul Moran is the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 Canada region finalist. The 28-year-old Canadian chef will showcase his signature dish of smoked and roasted blood pigeon with beet jus, charcoal oil, polenta and salsify at the grand final at Expo Milano 2015 in June. He spoke to us ahead of the big event.
What inspires the aesthetics of your creations?
The aesthetics of my dishes are inspired by monochrome colours. I’ll pick the colour red, then I’ll use red ingredients that work well together: beets, pigeon, blood, radicchio. I always try to create a natural landscape on the plate... The finished dish might look like a fall day with lots of red leaves, shades of soil and a early sunset.
How do colours and textures influence your creations?
Textures are always present in my dishes. I like to keep my plates natural, so it’s easy to draw on the natural textures of nature. Serving crispy celery root with a mushroom broth poured at the table has a natural inspiration. A field of dry hay, ready to harvest, before a warm musty rain changes everything in a few minutes.
How would you describe your creative style?
I would consider my creative style to be naturalist. If a bird eats corn from the fields, then for me it should taste excellent with some corn polenta. I would even smoke the bird with the sticks from that same field.
Is there any influence of your country's traditions, culture or materials in your creative work?
My dish has many subtle Canadian influences. My dish features smoked pigeon breast. Smoking is a very popular technique in Canada. All of the ingredients featured in my dish can be found in my hometown, yet they remain very worldly.
What food would you happily die eating?
I would happily die eating at the finest sushi bar in Japan. Any and all Japanese food makes my stomach the happiest. Such an intense focus on quality of ingredients and simplicity.
What ingredient would you never eat, and why?
One thing I will never eat is dolphin or whale. Besides the ridiculously high mercury content, it is against my morals.
What’s the first thing you’ll do upon arriving in Milan next June?
The first thing I will do is find a cozy corner cafe, sit on the street and meditate over a coffee while people gazing.
What do you expect from this challenge?
I expect to be challenged to a point that I have not yet experienced. I also expect to come out on top as the world’s best young chef. I feel like I have something to prove.
Paul Moran mentor: meet chef Rob Gentile