Marc Hardiman has one of the most exciting jobs in British hospitality. He is Head Chef at Galvin at Windows, the iconic fine-dining establishment that sits 28 floors high at the London Hilton on Park Lane.
10 June 2021 marks the restaurant’s 15th birthday with an exclusive five-course birthday menu in partnership with Perrier-Jouët which is available until 26 June. Created by the five Head Chefs that have shaped the food over the years, Marc Hardiman will proudly lead the team in these celebrations. We caught up with him to talk about life and all things food.
What are you most excited about for the 15th birthday celebrations?
I am really looking forward to celebrating this huge achievement with Chris and Jeff Galvin. They are crucial figureheads of the industry and I am pleased to be able to be a part of it. I am also really looking forward to having André Garrett and Joo Won coming back to cook in the kitchen they know and love. This will be really motivating for my team to see what different styles have been used in the Galvin at Windows kitchen over the last 15 years.
Do you have any pre-lunch / dinner service rituals?
Before every service, the team prepare a tasting plate for me with a piece of everything we serve on there. This is so I can see exactly what each element tastes like and ensure the best quality of food is sent from our kitchen.
At the end of service, I always thank the team for their hard work. I really like to have a high morale in my kitchen so we end on a good note and we all go home happy.
Tell us about the team at Galvin at Windows and what makes it a special place to work?
I feel very privileged to work with this dream team. In the kitchen, we are all very passionate and the team are hungry for knowledge always. I try to include them in the menu by designing dishes around interesting techniques for them to try or new ingredients to work with. They are currently spending time developing dishes they would like to put on the menu. I work with the chefs individually to understand what they want to get across and help to push their food to a level they are proud of. The best ones will make it to the menu, where we can all learn from each other.
Front of house, I am so fortunate to work with Peter Avis, our General Manager. He is kind, generous and an inspiration to us all. His leadership makes Galvin at Windows a special place to work. The whole front of house team in the restaurant and 10° Bar keep things running so smoothly and complement the food we prepare.
What would you advise young chefs who want to do what you do?
Hard work and passion are key. I have worked in this industry for a long time but time and time again, the people who achieve the most are those who work really hard, keep learning and have bags of passion.
I was extremely fortunate to learn from some of the best chefs in the country. I soaked up the knowledge they fed me like a sponge and have always worked extremely hard at my craft. 20 years later, I am still totally in love with the hospitality industry and cooking. The kitchen may not be for everyone but for those that do come into it, there is certainly something rewarding about ending a service with your team knowing you made someone the best food you can possibly serve.
What is your favourite thing to make at home?
Smoked haddock risotto. This is a great dish for using up items in the cupboard and fridge and can be made with minimal washing up! The taste is very simple yet comforting and always goes down well.
You’re only as good as the last plate you served.
Favourite chef and why?
The first chef I worked for – Stuart Mcleod – as my mentor, he is what I will always aspire to be like.
What is next in the culinary journey of Galvin at Windows?
Sustainability and fun are the two key elements for us moving forwards. Using sustainable produce where possible and bringing a sense of fun and theatre to the dining room. I am quite inspired by nature so the new five and seven course tasting menus we have bring a nod to nature and the wonderful views from the restaurant.
What is the next big thing in food?
Fun, entertainment and the social aspect that comes with eating out. I also think plant based eating and sustainability will also feature highly this year.
The special 5 course Birthday Menu will be available from 11-26 June 2021. For every person dining on the Birthday Menu, £7.50 per person will be donated to the amazing Hospitality Action.
To discover more, visit: galvinatwindows.com
All imagery courtesy of Galvin at Windows.
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