Paul Foster, aged 29, is general manager of the new boutique Halifax Hall Hotel, which was created from Sheffield University halls of residence at a cost of £1.8m. He grew up in Wickersley and returned home after seven years with his hospitality career in Greece, Ireland, Cardiff and Essex.
At ten I suffered from what must have been the scariest thing my mother could have imagined. I was pushed down a water slide on holiday abroad, which caused a brain haemorrhage two weeks later. I had life-saving surgery at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The downside was that I could see the Sheffield United ground from the room! Joking aside, the hospital is remarkable. As a member of Hospitality Sheffield, we are raffling free nights at Halifax Hall, food and wine towards the £25,000 for a new bedroom.
I followed in the footsteps of my dad, and the 1993 FA Cup between Wednesday and United was one of the most memorable moments of my life! I’ve always felt as if Wednesday fans are like one big family and the ground is my second home.
The Mud Crab
The Mud Crab on Ecclesall Road, with its relaxed atmosphere and impeccable customer service is one of my favourite places to spend a Friday or Saturday night. The food is simple, but done really well, and the cocktails are some of the best in Sheffield.
I used to play football with some of the band and then saw them play live at the Leadmill, just as they were beginning to make it big. Although their style has changed a lot since then, I still think they’re absolutely fantastic. They still bring a local feel to their music.
Kelham Island Pale Rider
One of my after-work treats is a pint of Pale Rider - a fairly light and fruity ale with loads of flavour. Just perfect.
My favourite pub in the city has to be the University Arms. The home cooked food is delicious and the atmosphere is laidback. The pub always has a good selection of top quality real ales which changes regularly.
Last Laugh comedy club
You just can’t beat Yorkshire humour. Before becoming a workaholic, I spent many nights down at the Roundhouse and then at the City Hall and Lescar. They say Sheffield is a good training ground for comedians and I guess this rings true when you think of the big name comedians who have played at the Last Laugh before taking off.
I’m definitely a foodie, and favour traditional, home-cooked food with a bit of a modern edge. Some of the producers and local dishes from in and around Sheffield are tremendous. Steve James, head chef at Halifax Hall, has been meticulously dreaming up the most wonderful dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, packing in as many locally-produced fresh ingredients as he can! LSA Meats, where we source meat for the hotel is a fantastic Sheffield family business.
baristas and a good cuppa
It’s great that we’re seeing plenty of decent cafes spring up around town now with fully trained baristas. We’ve fitted fresh bean coffee machines from Cafeology, a Sheffield fair trade coffee and tea company.
In my last job as a manager of Snoozebox Portable Hotels, I worked at lots of high profile events, such as Silverstone Grand Prix, the 2012 Olympics, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Isle of Man TT and Glastonbury. Yet Sheffield gives the friendliest welcome of anywhere I’ve visited. People go that extra mile to make visitors welcome.