Curating luxury for the discerning traveller



Chris Galvin, alongside his brother Jeff and wife Sara, spearheads one of the capital’s most successful fine dining dynasties. Operating seven restaurants – five of which are based in London – the Galvins have garnered a reputation for delivering exceptional French cuisine in elegant surroundings, but without any of the stuffiness that often accompanies a Michelin-starred dining experience. This is never more in evidence than at Galvin At Windows on Park Lane. Located on the 28th floor of the London Hilton Hotel and offering superb wraparound views of the capital, it opened in just 12 weeks when the Galvin brothers’ first restaurant – Galvin Bistrot De Luxe – was just four months old. “That was tremendously hard work,” admits chef patron Chris Galvin. “Fortunately, we’d worked with some great people over the years – including head chef André Garrett and general manager Fred Sirieix – who brought a huge amount of experience with them. Everyone knew the task ahead and just got down to it.”

Feb 8th 2013

The restaurant teams are hugely important to the success of the Galvin empire, which is why the brothers put so much emphasis into developing and nurturing their chefs and front-of-house staff. “I like to ask what they want to do and what their ultimate dream is,” says Chris. “If  I don’t feel we can help them achieve that, I’d never waste their time. I’d always refer them to someone I think could help.” For those lucky enough to be taken under the wing of one of Galvin’s head chefs, training underpinned by education is the order of the day. “I love helping young people,” says Chris. “I learnt so much from the people who helped me along the way and I think it’s good to repay these things.” Indeed, Chris has worked alongside some industry greats in his time, including Paul Gayler, executive head chef at The Lanesborough hotel, Sir Terence Conran, who recently opened his 105th restaurant, and Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the masters behind establishments including The Wolseley, and The Delaunay. “I have been incredibly lucky,” Chris admits. “I think sometimes the stars align and you’re just in the right place at the right time.”


Of course, Chris Galvin wouldn’t be where he is without an awful lot of hard graft, something that Joo Won, senior sous chef at Galvin At Windows, wishes the younger generation understood. “I’ve noticed that young people, not just young chefs, are all looking for the fastest way to get to the top. They have to understand, particularly in an industry like ours, the reality is that they will start at the bottom and it will be very challenging every single day,” says Joo. “It takes time to get to the top and often you have to sacrifice part of your life to be successful.” One chef who knows this only too well is Alastair Clayton. He’s been at Galvin At Windows for six years, working his way up from demi chef de partie to junior sous chef. In 2011, he saw his hard work and dedication pay off when he won an Award Of Excellence from the Royal Academy Of Culinary Arts, much to the delight of the restaurant team. “This has definitely been a highlight during my time here,” reveals Alastair. “It was my third attempt, and chef said I just had to knuckle down and give it my all. He was right, but then chef has always been very encouraging. He sees my potential, what my goals are and encourages me to go and fulfil them.” And this really is the essence of the Galvin brothers’ empire: fulfilling people’s desires every single day.


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