Paul MercurioIt all started at the age of nine when Paul first told his mum that he wanted to learn to dance. Encouraging of her young son, Paul went on to study classical ballet, jazz, tap and vaudeville, and then at thirteen he joined an amateur theatre group and studied the various disciplines of theatre for four years. Combining these two disciplines has informed and shaped his career as a performer, a choreographer and as a director.
Paul’s career has been one of diversity. The first stage was very much focused on dance and choreography. From 1982 – 1992 he toured extensively around Australia and the world, performing and choreographing with Sydney Dance Company where he was principal dancer for ten years. He formed his own dance company, Australian Choreographic Ensemble in 1992, for which he directed, choreographed and danced. Paul’s choreographic credits include more than thirty dance works for stage and television.
He contributed choreography on Strictly Ballroom as well as playing the lead role and has also choreographed four other feature films, the last one being Will Smith’s mega blockbuster I, Robot for which Paul choreographed the Robots. He was nominated in 2004 for a Helpmann Award for his choreography for the musical Annie Get Your Gun, but was pipped at the post by The Producers.
The second stage has been focused on the film and television industry where Paul has made a mark as an actor and presenter, being nominated for an AFI Award and a Logie Award, and working with such notables as Ben Kingsley, Martin Landowne, Christian Slater and others. He has appeared in fourteen US and Australian feature films and countless hours of television spanning the drama, comedy and lifestyle genres.
Paul is well known for his time on Dancing with the Stars in Australia and also in New Zealand and also for hosting two series of the food and travel series The Food Trail and four series of Mercurio's Menu – 62 episodes in total. Series one, two and three of Mercurio’s Menu have been seen in over 45 countries around the world including Russia, Spain, Germany, Israel and most of Asia. He has finished filming the fourth series, which is airing on the Seven Network. He was also the host on Destination Television’s third series of New Zealand on a Plate, which has also been sold and seen around the world.
The third stage of his career revolves around his passion for all things food. He began brewing his own beer 23 years ago and quickly discovered that brewing beer, making bread, cooking unique meals and developing recipes is a true process of creativity and not at all different to the process of dancing in or creating a ballet or playing a character in a movie. The ability to express one's self, tell a story, to entertain and nourish others leads to a much more diverse and fulfilling life experience. Paul has done this throughout his career through his dance, his choreography, his acting and now through his cooking.
In 2009 Paul released a bestselling cookbook called Mercurio’s Menu, based on the recipes from series one and two of the show. It enjoyed such good success with sales in Australia, New Zealand and England that he was offered a further two book deal – which of course he accepted. He has just released Cooking with Beer, his second cookbook which has proved so popular that it went in to a reprint three weeks after hitting the shelves. The first month of release saw 30, 000 books sold in Australia, New Zealand, England, Germany, Finland and Holland with more to come.
Mercurio is not a chef and has never been trained. It his love of food, cooking and brewing, coupled with the opportunities he has had to travel the world sampling all the culinary wonders of the various places and cultures he has been, that inspires him to continue to tell his story through the food that he creates.
Catch Paul Mercurio at the following Tasting Australia events:
Kids in the Kitchen Presented by San Remo - Sat 28 & Sun 29 April
Selector Word of Mouth - Sat 28 & Sun 29 April
Miele Chefs' Showcase - Sun 29 April
True Character - Paul Mercurio at The Lion - Tue 1 May