THE ROTA ARCHIVE

PAUL PUJOL - THE WINEMAKER

"TWO WORDS: 'LIBRARY STOCK'...NOTHING LIKE BREAKING INTO THE BACK VINTAGES."

 

1. What was your first job in hospitality?

Bartending at ‘Shakes Niteclub’. Yes, it was as bad as it sounds but survived due to its distinction of being the latest open licenced premises in the city.

2. What is your favourite cuisine to eat - preferably the opposite to what you work in?

Pretty much all types – I enjoy cooking Thai and French at home. Also wood fired pizzas at the vineyard using wine yeast for the dough.

3. Which dish do you most associate with childhood?

Lasagne and overcooked vegetables.

4. What’s the soundtrack to your first love?

I really liked a girl who was fond of the movie ‘Dirty Dancing’. I must have put up with watching it a dozen times...was it worth it – definitely not. Traumatised for life, and now go into anaphylactic shock if I come into contact with anything to do with that film.

5. What do you crave after a long shift?

Beer at the end of the day during vintage for sure.

6. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have? 

Coffee. A couple of flat whites, as I am lucky enough to have a great coffee machine at home. Everything after that is optional.

7. What is your favourite word?

Two words: ‘Library Stock’...nothing like breaking into the back vintages.

8. If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday – where would you choose to do so?

San Sebastian, I’ve never been – would love to spend some time there.

9. All at the same time or coursed out?

Coursed out, time and focus always good.

10. What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?

Sourcing ingredients.

11. What is the best cure for a hangover?

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Hit it with everything at once – aspirin, berocca (fizzy vitamins), ibuprofen, isotonic drinks, fizzy water and a pie.  

12. You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?

Musigny 

13. What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?

Use the word ‘interesting’ to describe a wine…meaningless and usually means they can’t be arsed to think about it deeply enough to form an opinion. 

14. Do you have any rituals during a shift?

During vintage – first coffee, then we make wine.

15. What’s the last film you saw?

The Last Survivors (2014). Fairly low budget but well done, bleak, dark and avoiding a lot of the normal clichéd pitfalls.

16. Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant? 

Getting the wines listed at the Fat Duck including a matched wine spot on the degustation menu.

17. What’s your tagline/motto?

Just because you can doesn’t make it a good idea…

18. Photography while eating – yay or nay?

If you’re going to do it, get it out of the way swiftly.

19. Rank the following in order of priority: wine, food, sex

Food can wait.

20. What would be your last meal – drinks included.

Seafood extravaganza along with some sort of dubious lard-fest, seeing as how you’re on the way out anyway – confit duck, pork belly, bacon, foie gras etc…Drinks – a ridiculous vertical of Comte Georges de Vogüé and Clos St Hune Riesling, all out of magnums. 

21. What makes you happy?

Cooking for people, hanging out with my kids (esp. travel missions), music, kayaking (whitewater) and snow sports.  

22. How do you relax?

Music, wine, talking rubbish with mates.

23. What is the background on your phone?

Crazy sky above the vineyard. 

24. Favourite Instagram accounts to follow 

@mensweardog

@winewankers

25. What is the best thing about working in hospitality? 

Meeting awesome people

26. Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?

The Fat Duck…Q.16

27. Who is the person you most respect in the industry?

Alan Brady – Central Otago pioneer.

28. What is your go to party trick?

Setting Sambuca on fire in my mouth…a bunch of bank managers taught me, haven’t done that in a while.

29. Finish this sentence: I eat everything except ...

I struggle with tripe despite my crazy French dad’s best efforts.