Galvin brothers: a balance of 'disruption and continuity' key to restaurants' success 10 years after launch

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Chris and Jeff Galvin opened their first restaurant, Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, in London in 2005, unaware that it would be a resounding success. 

Chris even told Jay Rayner that he had a recurring nightmare in which they opened the doors to the French fine dining restaurant, but no customers came. Ever. 

Despite having closed their flagship last year, the brothers are now celebrating ten years since opening La Chapelle and

Inside Galvin La Chapelle
Inside Galvin La Chapelle 

Galvin HOP Bistrot & Bar -  which have respectively held Michelin stars respectively for the past nine and ten years. 

They seized the occasion to reflect on their accomplishments and other great things to come in an interview with Essex Magazine, with older sibling Chris explaining that a combination of "disruption and continuity" is what has allowed them to come this far. 

While upheaval - from new menus, wine lists and decor to renaming their Spitalfields restaurant - stops customers from getting bored, constance has allowed them to grow. 

“The majority of the suppliers we use now are the same ones we started with ten years ago. They have become partners, even friends. They know what we want and we know what they can supply. Chris and I can have an idea of a menu change we want to make and we talk to our friends to make sure it is the best it can be," Jeff said. 

The chefs - joined by their brother David as well as Chris' four children in the restaurants' day to day operations -  currently own six restaurants.

They closed Galvin Brasserie de Luxe and The Pompadour at The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh earlier this year, but still own Bib Gourmand pub Galvin Green Man, Michelin-starred Galvin at Windows, Galvin at The Athenaeum in Mayfair and recently launched Galvin at Tottenham Hotspur. Future projects include another restaurant in Dubai. 

Among the things they are most proud of, the brothers, fervent believers in promoting and nurturing careers in hospitality, have signed up the City & Guilds' skills recognition scheme, which they also helped design. 

Additionally, the chefs were joined by Galvin at Windows' general manager Fred Sirieix in launching a work insertion programme, Galvin's Chance, as well as supporting the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts' Adopt-a-School initiative. 

In 2011, they published a cookbook, Galvin a Cookbook de Luxe, and are planning another called Galvin Made Simple. 

The brothers - who've served over a million customers at La Chapelle and HOP Bistrot & Bar - have no intention of curtailing their ambitions. 

“Instead of patting ourselves on the back for surviving in the toughest hospitality arena on earth, we are more used to analysing the things we could do better,” said Jeff.

Meanwhile, Chris said: “Jeff and I are keen to look forward rather than back and as we’ve said this is a dynamic and changing business.  One thing that will never change is our belief in integrity and sustainability throughout our company." 

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 8th August 2019

Galvin brothers: a balance of 'disruption and continuity' key to restaurants' success 10 years after launch