Hometown: Claremont, Barbados
South Florida-based personal chef to the stars, Paul Griffith, has his finger on what’s delicious, with countless celebrities have been indulging in his culinary delights, including Lil’ Wayne, Enrique Iglesias, Lenny Kravitz and Denzel Washington. The star-studded career has been much of a surprise for the Bajan-born chef, who traces his culinary roots to his grandma.
“Just watching her cook made me want to learn,” says Griffiths, who confesses he’s still learning from the master. “She makes this killer roti with stewed chicken and peppers. Been trying to steal the recipe for years, but she’s swift.”
The budding chef was certainly well equipped when he arrived in Miami for culinary school at Johnson & Wales University. Early on, his food attracted the attention of legendary reggae band, Inner Circle, and soon developed a celebrity following.
Griffith describes his own cooking style “as Caribbean in foundation, but fusion in its accents. Lots of French, Polynesian influences, but the basis is definitely Caribbean. I cook with color, use a lot of fresh ingredients, and lots of seasoning. No ‘just a little salt and pepper’ foolishness.”
And perhaps the perfect expression of this approach is his immensely popular, meticulously engineering version of the Caribbean classic, bread pudding. The chef traveled across America trying different types and tweaking the recipe.
“Mine straddles the line between softness and crispiness, plus a lot of rum for the drinkers,” says Griffith. ““I made the pudding a few years ago for TLC. And then all of a sudden I’m shipping it to Atlanta and England.”
With plans to launch a company on his addictive pudding, the chef also tries to follow career advice from his former client, Mr. Denzel himself
“I started working for him right after he won the Oscar, so he was on a high,” recalls Griffith. “He’d come into the kitchen and we’d talk for hours about love, god, religion and passion. Those talks really changed how I saw my career. He taught me that humility will always be at the forefront of your success.”