After leaving his role at 215 Kitchen & Drinks, Michelin star chef Paul Welburn is taking a “step back” from the hospitality sector.

The award-winning chef announced in the autumn he would leave the Summertown restaurant at the end of the year.

Following the chef’s departure, 215 Kitchen & Drinks closed its doors after New Year and its currently being revamped into a ‘new concept’, which is expected to open in March.

READ MORE: Oxford restaurant 215 Kitchen & Drinks - when it will reopen

Since leaving the restaurant Mr Welburn has decided to take time for himself before moving onto his next venture, he explained to the Oxford Mail.

Oxford Mail: Paul Welburn. Picture: Oxford Mail Archive Paul Welburn. Picture: Oxford Mail Archive

He said: “It is strange because normally I have the next thing lined up but I just came to the decision that with everything going on in the industry at the moment I felt like a little step back, a breather and to analyse what I want to do next.

“There are so many things I could do but for me it is about finding the right thing.

“Obviously I have finished my time at 215 Kitchen & Drinks and now it is about finding what to do next.”

“The thing with me is I am never someone who likes to stop – it is very strange.”

Mr Welburn joined the Summertown restaurant, formerly known as Oxford Kitchen, in 2017 and it was awarded a Michelin star in 2018.

The restaurant was one of only three places which held Michelin stars in the county.

The others being Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Great Milton and The Nut Tree in Murcott.

READ MORE: Oxford Indian restaurant scores place in Michelin Guide

The reason Mr Welburn left the restaurant is that he felt he took “the site as far as it would go”.

He explained: “When I joined Oxford Kitchen I felt there was so much to do and we achieved so much – we hit the ground running.

“Going into Oxford Kitchen in 2017 it needed a lot of work, it needed a new destination and vision food.”

Oxford Mail: Paul Welburn. Picture: Oxford Mail Archive Paul Welburn. Picture: Oxford Mail Archive

However, when Oxford Kitchen became 215 Kitchen & Drinks he felt a “plateau” and he needed a new “vision”.

Having a project and something which he can “build” is very important to Mr Welburn, another reason he does not wish to rush into a new role straight away.

He said: “I do not want to go into an existing restaurant that is established. I want to do something that needs a bit of work on it, needs a fresh outlook or a completely blank canvas project.”

As Mr Welburn assesses his next move he advised budding young chefs should “forget the negative things” they hear about the industry.

He said: “It is tough but if you want something enough you will succeed and you will do well in this industry.

“What you put in the early part of your career you will get back in the future.”  


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