Paul is a Scottish born, Northern Irish celebrity chef from Ballywalter, County Down, Northern Ireland. He is well-known for his regular appearances on the cooking show Ready Steady Cook.
His wife Jeanne, who cooks alongside him, is also a familiar face. Paul and Jeanne met in 1980 while Paul was travelling the world. They continued travelling together, working in kitchens to earn cash. Upon their return to the UK, they worked alongside each other at Le Gavroche, the Roux brothers’ restaurant in London.
When the couple returned to Belfast, they set up Roscoff, the restaurant that won Northern Ireland its first Michelin star, which it retained for eight consecutive years.
More restaurants would follow when Roscoff closed. At its peak, the Rankin Group comprised nine restaurants in Northern Ireland. Paul has since had to close or sell most of the restaurants in his portfolio and devote his time to those remaining.
Paul Rankin’s first foray into television was in the series Gourmet Ireland, produced by Irish company Waddell Productions, and shown on both BBC and RTE. Both Paul and Jeanne starred in the show that was noted for the banter between the two.
He has since been a regular chef on the BBC cookery programme Ready Steady Cook.
In 2006 Rankin competed in the Northern Ireland heat of the BBC’s Great British Menu, a competition to cook for the Queen on her 80th birthday.
Paul was the subject of an episode of a short programme named Proud Parents on Channel 4, also in 2006.
Rankin is also the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry Award.
He has written 5 books; Hot Food (1997), Gourmet Ireland (1997), Gourmet Ireland 2 (1998), Ideal Home Cooking (1998), and New Irish Cookery (2005).
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The influence of Paul and Jeanne Rankin on Irish cuisine continues today, with many of the chefs in restaurants in Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland having started their careers in the kitchen of Roscoff.