Head Chef and Owner
Bistro Ortolan, Leichhardt, Australia
Paul McGrath grew up in County Cork, Ireland and started his apprenticeship in Ballymaloe House, a famous country away from home for celebrities and royals, where he developed his passion for premium seasonal ingredients.
McGrath honed his skills as a pastry chef at Moyglare Manor in County Kildare, just outside Dublin frequented by sheiks and princes from the Arab-Emirates and visiting heads of state. The Crown Prince of Qatar, the Emir of Dubai, and President de Klerk from South Africa, are just some of dignitaries who’ve dined on McGrath’s cooking.
McGrath’s was soon plating up for some of the world’s most recognised celebrities including Bono, Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, regular diners of at Shanks restaurant in Bangor, as Sous-Chef for British celebrity chef Robbie Millar.
In 1997 he landed in Sydney at Red’s restaurant, The Rocks and food soon turned to love when he met his future wife and business partner, Jenny, then assistant manager. And when Ampersand Restaurant in Darling Harbour opened McGrath jumped on the opportunity to work with Pascal Barbot, the world-renowned chef and owner of the 3 Michelin Star Paris restaurant, L’Astrance – and experience he counts and the most influential in his career.
Stepping away from the busy kitchens of Sydney, McGrath came on as head chef of Sydney’s most exclusive Catering firms, Katering; and was soon cooking for Sydney’s elite social set, as well as for state functions with guests such as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, The Sultan of Brunei, The Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Prince Frederick and Princess Mary of Denmark, Princess Anne.
In 2006, after nine years in Australia Paul and Jenny McGrath took the next big step in their hospitality careers, and opened the doors to Bistro Ortolan, awarded two Hats in the prestigious Good Food Guide Awards over three consecutive years from 2009-11.