It 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 TV including the Harry M Miller Production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1992. He was awarded a Mo award for Dance Performer of the Year in 1992
He contributed choreography on “Strictly Ballroom” as well as playing the lead role and has also choreographed 4 other feature films, the last one being Will Smith’s mega blockbuster “I Robot” for which Paul was the movement consultant for the Robots.
The second stage has been focused on the film and television industry where over the last 26 years 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 and Martin Landau where he played the title role of Joseph in the Emmy award winning Biblical TV series – The Bible Joseph. He played the lead role in Christian Slater’s directorial debut short film – “Museum of Love” and worked alongside Dana Delaney, Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O’Donnell in Gary Marshals’ feature film Exit to Eden in which he played the lead role. In all Paul has appeared in fifteen US and Australian feature films and countless hours of television spanning the drama, comedy, reality and lifestyle genres.
The third stage of his career revolves around his passion for all things food. He began brewing his own beer back in 1988 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 yourself, tell a story, to entertain and nourish others leads to a much more diverse and fulfilling life experience. Mercurio has done this throughout his career through his dance, his choreography, his acting and now through his cooking.
People often look at Mercurio with surprise and ask what, why, when, where and how did he get into food let alone have his own food show on television. He has hosted six television series (72 episodes) cooking his way around Australia, New Zealand and Kenya - a total of 36 hours of television. He also appears on many live daytime TV shows cooking his trademark style dishes.
He has released a bestselling cook book based on the first two series of his Television show “Mercurio’s Menu” and has sold over 125000 copies of his bestselling book “Cooking with Beer” in 5 different languages. In August 2015 his third cook book “Kitchen Mojo” hit the shelves and has sold well. Paul was a featured chef on Channel Nines Mornings Program throughout 2013 and became a Guinness Book of Records Holder for the fastest sorting of coloured jelly babies using chopsticks!
Mercurio released his own beer on the Victorian market in 2005 – a Peach Ale and since then has held beer dinners and beer cooking demos as well as being a judge for international beer competitions. In 2016 he brewed Australia’s first Aphrodisiac Beer in collaboration with BentSpoke Brewery. It had seven different herbal aphrodisiacs and was called Ye Ole Horney Ale – it sold out!
As a freelance performer, in between acting gigs Paul opened his own beer café in 2014 complete with a smoker from America serving up low and slow rubbed smoked meats, beer tapas and healthy snacks. His Rubs and Condiments proved so popular he decided to package them up to sell them and thus his company Beerlicious was born. Whilst building the business Paul has cooked in restaurants, made movies, cooked at markets, performed cooking demo’s at various festivals, undertaken radio gigs, choreographed a musical and done other odds and ends.
Mercurio is not a chef and has never been trained. It is his love of food, cooking and brewing coupled with the opportunities he has had to travel the world sampling all the art and culinary wonders of the various places and cultures he has been that inspires him to continue to tell his story through the food, the beer, the dance and the characters that he continues to create.