This start led to a commis job at the Ritz Hotel, under the direction of Michael Quinn, and the beginning of an extraordinary thirty year career that saw him working in some of the finest restaurants and hotels in the world. His glittering work history includes ten years working with Sir Terence Conran, opening restaurants Mezzo, Bluebird, Almeida and Orrery, the latter earning him a Michelin star in 2000. In 2003 he was the opening head chef at the now famous Wolseley, before teaming up with his brother in 2005.
Jeff followed his brother – 'my biggest mentor' – into the same local kitchen, and after catering college began his career at the Savoy Hotel, before progressing to the role of junior sous chef at the Michelin-starred Capital Hotel, working under Philip Britten. A later job, as sous chef of Nico Ladenis' Chez Nico, saw him form part of the team that was awarded a coveted third Michelin star.
But both brothers found more than professional mentors in the kitchens they worked in. That first restaurant offered them not only warmth, food and money' but also family. Says Chris: 'That’s what a restaurant brings... you’ve got instant family.' Today their restaurants remain family affairs – with siblings, children, cousins and partners working together in various capacities.
Encouraging these feelings of pastoral care, of developing new talent, is still just as important to the brothers as they manage their growing empire. From personally targeted staff development to their charity, Galvin’s Chance, which offers deeply troubled young people training and development for a career in hospitality; a desire to ‘give back’ is central to their work.
AA Hotel Services Manager, Simon Numphud sums up the appeal of the brothers well: 'It’s not difficult to see why the Galvin brothers are so well respected in the industry. Committed, hardworking, totally hands on, passionate about developing young people and above all very modest and humble.'
All that and gorgeous traditional French food – just like the French used to make – in the heart of London.
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