Daniel Galmiche has arrived at the quintessentially British Gore hotel, bringing with him four decades of experience and a simpler, less ornate approach to fine dining. The Resident discovers what he has in store for new guests at the luxurious restaurant
Words: Alexander Larman
For a man who has been Head Chef at some of Britain’s best restaurants – including the Michelin-starred likes of The Vineyard and L’Ortolan – the charming and loquacious Daniel Galmiche is refreshingly devoid of ego. Well known for his appearances on Saturday Kitchen and with a high ‘but not too high’ public profile, he’s one of the top chefs in the country, but an hour spent with him chatting about food, wine and hospitality goes by with as much ease and charm as if it was a catch up with an old friend.
When we meet on a swelteringly hot day in the elegant surroundings of the quintessentially British Gore hotel, a stone’s throw from the Albert Hall, where he is now Executive Chef, he candidly admits that swapping the 85-hour weeks that he was working at The Vineyard for a more relaxed way of life was a major factor in his move.
I wanted to cook at somewhere iconic and high profile
‘I have a wife and 16-year-old son, and I never saw them, and also I wanted to pursue other opportunities with my agent,’ he says. ‘But I also wanted to cook at somewhere iconic and high profile, which The Gore certainly is.’ It’s also the first time that he’s had his own establishment in London, something that he describes by saying ‘traditionally, we’ve had “the London chefs” and then “the out of London chefs”, but the likes of Nathan Outlaw and Simon Rogan are proving that you can be both.’
Galmiche’s new restaurant is specialising in simpler, less ornate dishes that are lower on rich sauces and garnishes, and instead concentrate on fresh, seasonal ingredients, especially Galmiche’s favourite, seafood.
‘People are more interested in sustainability and bistro-level cooking, where what you see is what you get. I want people to look at the menu and think “that sounds really nice”, and order something delicious with a good glass of wine – nobody likes a crap wine! We change the menus regularly at different times of year, and that’s always a challenge, but a fun challenge.’
People are more interested in sustainability and bistro-level cooking, where what you see is what you get. I want people to look at the menu and think “that sounds really nice”
He certainly knows what he’s talking about, having been a chef for over four decades (he’s a very trim-looking 58), three of which he’s spent in England. He doesn’t come from a family of chefs – ‘my father wanted me to be a surgeon’ – but was brought up with an appreciation of good cooking from an early age, which he has turned into a successful and acclaimed livelihood.
Unlike many of his peers, he doesn’t think that Brexit is necessarily a disaster for the London restaurant industry, arguing: ‘While I was personally very upset by it, and I worry that it might affect the entente cordiale that has existed between France and England for years, I don’t think it will put people off coming here to work – it’ll be more of a challenge, but worth it.’
And, along with this sunny optimism, he claims that his desert island meal would be a simple, but delicious affair of sea bass, vegetables and, as an aperitif, champagne – ‘preferably Bollinger, because it’s a glorious drink’. So there we have Daniel Galmiche – top chef, splendid human being and man of excellent taste indeed.
190 Queen’s Gate SW7 5EX; 020 7590 6725; gorehotel.com