I remember my mum dropping me to school the first day in primary school and I knew then that I was going to hate every single day until I got out!
I also remember my very last day in secondary school and, thinking back, saying to myself: “I was dead right!”
My most vivid memory of my first day in secondary school is of arriving in and seeing this huge game of football taking place in the yard where anyone could play. I jumped straight in, scored a goal and I never had to worry about getting picked for a team again.
What kind of child was I? The same as now. Very opinionated and strong-minded. I remember a teacher hitting me full belt in the back of the head in front of all the class. I stood up and told him if he ever did that again, I wouldn’t report him but I would hit him back. He never did, strangely enough.
I loved sport in school. That is what got me through it. I was on every football and GAA team and in all the athletics teams too. If it wasn’t for all the classes, I’d have loved school.
But, in fairness, I must admit I loved maths. I tell my own kids that it’s the most important subject on the planet.
Most importantly, what I’ve learned in life is you must follow your dreams no matter who says that you’ll never achieve them.
If I met myself as a kid today, I would say: “Never change.” If the current situation has taught us nothing else, it should be that the opinions of people who are irrelevant in your life should also be irrelevant. There are more people out there that want to see you fail because they will never succeed. Screw them!
As for friends, I’m finding we are getting more and more in touch with each other these days. Especially with what is going on at the moment.
The best advice I got back then was advice I gave myself: Just because someone in a position of authority tells you something, it doesn’t make them right.
The teacher that influenced me most was a principal who told me when I got my Leaving Cert results that I would amount to nothing. I’d tell him again what I told him that day but you probably wouldn’t be allowed to print it!
I look at both my sons’ principals and realise just how lucky my lads are that things have changed so much. They are both blessed to have principals that genuinely care about them.
What I remember about my first school disco is how my buddy Jimmy tried to set me up with this girl and I hid inside a box for the whole disco so she couldn’t find me. I was 11! If only I knew then what I know now. I’d have asked her to hide in there with me.
I always knew I would work in the food and hospitality industry. It is all I know. It’s in my blood. If I met 13-year-old Paul, I would say, “You are in for some seriously long hours, terrible sacrifices and a long road ahead. But go for it. It’ll all be worth it one day.”
I’ve seen what food and cooking can do for us more now than ever. Together with my sons, Sean and Dylan, we have been entertaining the nation with our live cook-along videos, Cooking With The Treyvauds on Facebook. In the first week alone, they reached over 2.1 million people. People from all over the world tune in and it’s incredible the number of families that have told me this is the first time they have ever cooked and eaten as a family.
Messages like this have been a driving force and inspiration for my style of cooking. It’s all about simple recipes that anyone can follow, getting your kids into the kitchen and helping you cook but most of all having a laugh. The cooking is probably second to the family slagging! I feel food brings people together. It gets you talking to your loved ones and it makes you realise what is important in life. Not what kinda day Kim Kardashian has had, but what kinda day your loved ones have had.