Chef Joe creates a new menu for new pal Paolo

Celebrity chef Joe Hurd '“ who has tickled the tastebuds of many a viewer on the telly '“ has joined with a Galashiels restaurateur to put together a special guest menu.

Joe, who says he is built in Yorkshire from Italian parts, first met Paolo Crolla as the man he was awarding a prize as a judge in the Pizza and Pasta Awards in London.

He said: “Actually, that was not the first time I handed Paolo an award – most of our early relationship entails me giving him a trophy, so I’ve known for a while he was someone to watch.

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“We’re pretty good friends now, and as we both have Italian roots, we have similar food styles – although Paolo is probably a bit more Neapolitan, while I’m more in the deep south of the country.

“We had always talked about doing something together, whether it was down here in London or up in Gala, and I think we just kind of enjoy cooking together.”

The menu, which can be tasted at Paolo’s Italian restaurant in Overhaugh Street, consists of four specially-cooked courses.

The antipasti course is passato di melanzane affumicato burratini, which is based around smoked aubergine and chilli. The primi course is ravioli Mantovese and the secondi is Calabrese porchetta, ceci inzamibo, with pea shoots, and the dolce is sweet mozzarella bruschetta ... all individually priced.

Paolo said: “We are hugely honoured to have a chef of Joe’s calibre agree to create an original menu that we can’t wait to share with our fantastic guests.”