David Kyle-Boyd lives and breathes hospitality. Watching him effortlessly glide across the floor at Aqua Shard, David is a familiar face to anyone who has visited this gorgeous restaurant at The Shard. David has worked in hospitality all his life, experiencing almost every role from front to back of house, and back again! He has been a porter, a chef, a butler in a private home and much more.
We chatted to David about all things hospitality and to find out more about this utterly charming man.
How did it all start?
My parents gave me the encouragement and confidence to go to catering school and get my first job in London at Simpson’s in the Strand. They made me Assistant Manager in 6 weeks. In London I’ve worked at wonderful places including the Savoy, Sketch, and I have been with Aqua Restaurant Group now for over 11 years and wouldn’t work for anyone else. I joined before the doors opened at The Shard!
My journey in hospitality changed forever when I worked at Sketch, it was there that I met our Managing Director Tony Geary. 18 years later and we still work together.
Tell us about the restaurant experience at Aqua Shard and what makes it different?
Aqua Shard is the flagship of the aqua group. As a team we feel honoured each time a customer chooses Aqua Shard. Out of anywhere in London, they have picked to be with us and we owe them to make it the best possible experience and deliver the best possible service. From front of house managers to everyone behind the scenes, we all work together for the same goal. Care and attention, love and affection. Our spectacular 360-degree views of London also make it a very special place to come to work every day.
What would you say to someone who wants a career in hospitality?
Love your job. It’s an incredible industry to join. The reward of hospitality is you genuinely have made a difference in your guests’ life. If you like being around people, dealing with any given situation, meeting any given request – if you ‘feel’ service – then hospitality is the career for you!
Top three tips to being a great leader?
- Lead by example
- Have manners and respect
- Love what you’re doing. It’s all about the personal touches.
If you could award a Michelin star right now, who would it be to and why?
Adam Handling. In particular I would award a second Michelin star to Frog by Adam Handling. I’m a big fan of Adam and love what he’s achieved.
What are your favourite restaurants in London?
The Ritz, for lunch or just a cocktail at the bar. I also love to try any new opening in London. I go on my own so that I can truly experience them.
Sketch, for the opportunity they gave me.
Mosimann’s in Belgravia. Mr Mosimann is an inspiration.
We know you have many regular customers and long-standing staff. What is the secret to retaining both?
My role is to care only for the guest. My job would not be possible without the wonderful people I work alongside every day. The essence of hospitality is kindness, warmth and emotion; I am here to make sure that our guests feel that, in the form of service.
What will the London food scene look like in 5 years time?
The London hospitality scene is back with a bang. The atmosphere is electric and London will continue to shine.
What is next for aqua restaurants?
Our new opening! Shiro will be our fifth site in London, in the new development at 100 Liverpool Street. We are so excited to be bringing this hugely popular contemporary Japanese dining from its first home in Hong Kong.
To discover more, visit: aquashard.co.uk
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All imagery courtesy of the aqua group.