Paul Morel is an incredibly passionate mixologist able to bundle creativity, pure ingredients, and unique flavors into a single glass. After 5 years of experience in several hospitality businesses, and by the side of Sergio Herman in Pure C and The Jane Paul launched his own consultancy business: Atelier Paul Morel.
Can you tell us a bit more about Atelier Paul Morel?
Paul: The atelier is a space where different and diverse activities can be combined. Guiding hospitality businesses is the main focus here. We develop drink menus and train hospitality teams on a daily basis. We also work on product development and r&d projects To combine all these activities we merged the kitchen and the bar into one.
Besides consulting we open our doors once a month for bar nights, events, and a fun night out.
Inspired by my travels to Japan I wanted to make sure to translate my source of inspiration to the design of the Atelier. Finding the balance between industrialism, professionalism and the comfort of your own home are the secret ingredients of what the Atelier lives and breathes today.
Lowno: Where did this hospitality passion comes from ?
Paul: There has always been a love for food and drinks, but I never thought I would end working in the hospitality business. I went for economics and events, but it didn’t feel comfortable with my choice, so I stopped school and start working in restaurants. That’s how it all began.
Lowno: What kind of places did you work in?
Paul: I started my career in a brasserie near the Belgium border before I moved to Auberge the Moules in the Philippines. The restaurant is well known for there exquisite seafood preparations.
When I was asked by a friend if I would be interested to work in Pure C, I had to think about it for a moment. Eventually, I took the job and my plans to go back to school were postponed for another year. At least that’s what I thought…
Pure C raised the bar to such a high level and that motivated me a lot. I was able to learn and grow because of the well-trained staff which much more experience than me.
Lowno: And then came The Jane?
Paul: Exactly. I had the opportunity to work on Sergio Herman’s and Syrco Bakker their newest project, together with staff from Oud Sluis and Pure C. I was eager to explore and Antwerp was the best choice at that moment.
Lowno: Even though you have your own business, you’re still regularly doing internships?
Paul: That’s true. It’s very inspiring to see different aspects of the hospitality business, there is always something to learn. I try to travel as much as possible and always with a certain product on my mind. At the moment, I’m fascinated by sake. And the best way to learn more about sake is to travel to Japan.
Lowno: What’s so interesting about sake?
Paul: It is a unique beverage, incomparable to other drinks. Dick the owner of Yoigokochi sake importers introduced me to sake 8 years ago when I was still working in Zeeland.
After I stopped working in restaurants and started my own business I had the time and opportunity to travel to Japan. Now I go back every year to learn more about sake and the producers behind this versatile drink. One of the highlights was my trip in 2018 when I visited several breweries together with Yoigokochi and ended my trip by doing an internship at Terada Honke Sake brewers.
Lowno: You have a fairly unique style. Isn’t it difficult sometimes to act as a consultant for external parties?
Paul: Every client requires another approach, they have certain expectations and therefore they contact you because of your expertise and knowledge. Every project is unique and different. Therefore For every client, I work tailor-made to gain the best result possible.
Lowno: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Paul: My travels inspire me the most. For example, I discovered a traditional Barolo Chinato. While I was in the Barolo region in Italy. This local vermouth style of drink is based on Barolo grapes and matured in local barrels. An amazing product that I can use for a variety of applications and recipes.
Lowno: Say you were only allowed to drink one drink for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Paul: No doubt, Sake
Lowno: Which journey inspired you the most?
Paul: My trip to Chicago was a true eye-opener. I was doing an internship at The Aviary, the bar of three-star restaurant Alinea. Everything was new, and a total experience. Not only the great drinks but also their professional and organized approach on how to run such a detailed bar program.
Nevertheless, Japan remains my all-time favourite for several reasons.
Lowno: What about the alcohol content of the cocktails produced at Atelier Paul Morel?
Paul: Well, that depends. Some of the drinks we create have a high alcohol percentage while others are completely alcohol-free.
Alcohol is not always the main ingredient. The most important is that the flavors of your drink are balanced and in harmony. In the end, you want to create a pleasant flavor experience for your guests and clients, with or without alcohol.
Lowno: Do you often drink alcohol yourself?
Paul: I can enjoy a nice glass of sake or wine, but I don’t usually drink a lot of liquor or spirits. And when I’m having a cocktail, I tend to stick to the classics such as an old fashioned or a Manhattan.
Lowno: No guilty pleasures?
Paul: The Bami Goreng family recipe from my partner Farah!