Great British Menu 2020 chefs: Paul Cunningham, Northern Ireland heat

The Staff Canteen

Paul Cunningham is the head chef and co-owner at Brunel’s in Newcastle and this is his first time in the Great British Menu kitchen.

His interest in food began when he was just six because his grandfather was a keen forager and his own ingredients.

Starting as a kitchen porter he was soon learning to cook aged 14, he took on his first head chef role at The Round Tower in Dundrum before moving to Newcastle to work with Hugh McCann, he was then offered the opportunity to come on board at Brunel’s as head chef and co-owner over six years ago.


Secrets out, I’ll be appearing on this year @greatbritishmenu , stay tuned folks

A post shared by Paul Cunningham (@pcbrunels) on


Named after English civil engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who is said to have spent considerable time in the Newcastle area, Brunel’s restaurant opened in February 2014 and in 2017, it moved to new premises at Downs Road.

In the 70-seater restaurant he cooks ingredient-led dishes; using local ingredients with very strong flavours. He says it’s ‘all about flavours’ and ‘there’s no point in it looking nice if it doesn’t taste nice’. He won LCN Chef of the Year in 2019.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 3rd April 2020

Great British Menu 2020 chefs: Paul Cunningham, Northern Ireland heat