FROM FINE DINING TO FIELD-TO-FORK…

Former waiter at the Ritz takes the simple burger to the next level

From fine dining to field to fork, a former award-winning waiter at the Ritz who grew up on a beef farm in the Warwickshire countryside has turned a dream into reality at Foxden –  a gourmet burger restaurant in Fulham which was a finalist in this year’s British Takeaway Restaurant Awards.

At Foxden, Paul elevates the simple burger and takes it to a next level, using only the finest of British ingredients and he is committed to a strong field to fork ethos, which focuses on provenance and sustainability.

He said: “The philosophy behind Foxden was to take burgers, which are often perceived as simple but an on-trend concept, and elevate them by only using the very best British dry-aged and grass-fed beef in our own bespoke recipe burgers, as well as sourcing our ingredients from like-minded British farmers and producers.”

The restaurant, where you can eat in, takeaway or have your food delivered locally, has just celebrated a year since opening – in the throes of a global pandemic.

Paul Foxon moved to London 11 years ago, when he was 22, to begin work at the Ritz, which he says was as challenging an experience as it was rewarding.

Paul is no stranger to awards. While at The Ritz, he received the Annual Award of Excellence from the Academy of Culinary Arts, as well as being a national finalist for the British Hospitality Association Waiter of the Year.

After His Time at The Ritz, he went on to work in several other high-profile establishments, including Home House, Boisdale of Belgravia and Red Carnation Hotels, where he was part of the executive committee responsible for turning the Rubens at the Palace Hotel into a five-star property.

From his various roles, Paul said: “What I have taken away from the years of experience is the awareness of other people’s hard work and dedication, quite often behind the scenes, that goes towards the result of a restaurant’s performance, along with the ability to work under pressure, how to prioritise and the need to maintain standards under any situation. These are all skills which have all been incredibly useful when opening a restaurant during a global pandemic.”

He said: “Growing up on a beef farm in Warwickshire and being surrounded by good quality British produce is what sparked my interest for cooking and in turn the restaurant industry. My interest in hospitality has been encouraged throughout my life, from cooking and hosting dinner parties on the farm to studying hospitality management at university. It has always been present in my life.

“I have always dreamt of owning my own restaurants and made the decision to take the leap and leave my role in the Rubens at the Palace Hotel in October 2019 to look for the perfect site to begin my dream.”

Paul signed the lease for the restaurant at Jerdan Place in Fulham on the 12th February 2020 with plans to open in April. However, due to the pandemic and a national lockdown, he had to put plans on pause to finally complete the building work and open the restaurant.

On his decision to use the finest British produce, he said: “This really is our USP, along with our continuing efforts to put new and exciting burgers on the menu; from the jumbo king prawn surf and turf burger, the chicken tikka masala burger with onion bhaji and our current ‘Duck Yeah!’ burger – a crispy-coated, Asian-spiced confit duck burger with our home-made chilli jam.

“We are incredibly relieved to have survived the global pandemic and this is in no small part down to our fantastic community and regular customers who have supported us through thick and thin through the last year. We will always be grateful for that.”

Reflecting on the nomination for the British Takeaway Awards 2021, he said: “To be nominated within a year of opening, particularly during what was, without doubt, a potentially-crippling year, was a massive honour. While we didn’t win this year, we will be back with a vengeance in 2022!”

Going forward, Paul has plans to open more sites and develop new concepts, but wants to keep the business small, to create a special experience for customers.

Foxden is currently offering 20% off online orders: https://www.foxdenrestaurant.co.uk/order#/where