Origins of Chris Galvin

One half of the Michelin-starred Galvin brothers, with a portfolio including The Ritz and The Wolseley, now Chris heads up a string of modern French restaurants that put British ingredients in the limelight


My gran had a walled garden in the East End and grew everything from gooseberries to potatoes, so I learned a lot about ingredients at a young age. She was always cooking for the family and I loved helping her in the kitchen. I think a great chef is someone who likes giving and this factor has never left me.


Gran would always show us which ones to use – a Bramley to purée or a Cox’s Orange Pippin if we wanted the apple to hold its shape. She would make an apple pie for every family occasion, and a day out for us would be fruit picking at Tiptree. We have apple tarte tatin on the menu as a homage to her – I have never been able to take it off.

Antony Worrall Thompson

One of the first lights of modern British cooking. I got a job washing up for him and was blessed to get into a kitchen just as nouvelle cuisine started. Antony was experimental and probably the most creative chef I have ever worked with. He encouraged me to look at the great chefs that were appearing at the time: Alastair Little, Simon Hopkinson and Gary Rhodes.

Michael Quinn

Antony got me a job at The Ritz, where Michael was the first British head chef. He challenged the dominance of French kitchens and would always mirror the French cheese platters with a British one. For the first time, menus were written in English, rather than an awful translation. It was the first emergence of modern British cooking.

New York

I was lucky enough to work here with Antony in 1986 and saw what a melting pot it was. The food was unbelievable, from the Italian delis to the Jewish Quarter; all the dishes were authentic – the globe in one city. I saw huge tuna being prepared on the pavements at Fulton Fish Market, it was incredible.


I became a dad at 15 to my younger brothers, Jeff and David, when my father left. David always loved the markets and worked on Borough for years, and Jeff decided to come into the kitchens with me. We worked in many French kitchens together and were both heavily influenced by Auguste Escoffier, Marco Pierre White, the Roux brothers and Raymond Blanc – they changed the scene for ever. Jeff and I have never had a cross word; we’re like twins and lift each other up. I would simply not do it without him.


Lasagne of crab is one of our signature dishes and we get complaint letters if we take it off. The crab comes from Dorset and is has particularly beautiful white, plump fibres – we’re addicted to it. I am thrilled with the produce in Britain. We’ve got a beautiful coastline and we should showcase our ingredients because we are lucky to have them.

Sir Terence Conran

He was one of the best British designers, who transformed the way British restaurants were in the Nineties. He was light years ahead of his time and I wanted to work with this man. I said, ‘That’s the future’. He was part of a modern British movement that, at the time, was steeped in French and Italian, but he did it his way. I spent 10 happy years with him. He’d send me all over and say, ‘Go and have a look at this,’ or he’d send me books and cuttings. He influenced me heavily on what the heartbeat of a restaurant should be.

British cheese

It took me years to learn my French cheeses – there’s one for every day of the year, but that’s true for British cheese, too. I love Kirkham’s Lancashire. Jeff and I spend a lot of time on farms. People are washing cheese with cider and spirits, really getting flavour in. Things are exciting and I love that we’re getting back to the seasons and becoming more sustainable.

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