With over 10 years’ senior level experience working at multi-Rosette and Michelin star establishments in the UK and Australia, Marc Hardiman remains committed to delivering next level dining experiences for customers whilst constantly innovating and experimenting, looking for ways to improve and remain at the top of his game. Hardiman will be at the helm of the kitchen, overseeing all menu delivery, creative dish development and food innovation.
We caught up with the London based head chef of Galvin at Windows to find out about his inspirations, why he enjoys the fast-paced life and how you can’t beat a Sunday roast or fish and chips.
What or who inspired you to become a chef?
My nan was a huge inspiration to me, she had a natural knack to turn humble ingredients into an incredible dish. I spent most weekends when I was young cooking with her in the kitchen and it was her passion that inspired me to become a chef.
I have very fond memories of food when growing up, I would often go fishing and hunting with my grandad and then my nan would teach me how to cook what we caught. It was an amazing experience.
What’s your signature dish?
I don’t really have a signature dish because we are always trying to evolve our menu changes with each new season. Seasonality is key to me, and certain dishes reappear as an evolution of the dish from the season before.
What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?
Seasonality; guest experience and consistency. My team also factor in my menu as I think it is important to be able to teach new skills and keep the team motivated with dishes that inspire them too. A happy kitchen means a happy guest.
Do your personal preferences influence the menu at all?
Whether consciously or unconsciously I do influence the menu based on my own tastes. Of course, I would not want to serve something to a guest I am not happy eating myself. The overall guest experience and needs always come first.
Do you have a favourite time of year or set of ingredients that you look forward to working with?
I love it when spring hits because of all the fresh, vibrant colours and tastes. The lightness of the season really comes across on the plate, especially after the heavy, boldness of winter dishes.
What is your favourite ingredient?
Seasonality is a huge influence on how I cook so my favoured ingredients change with the seasons. I love crisp, clean flavours. Currently I can’t get enough of English asparagus and heirloom tomatoes but as soon as it starts to get colder, I look forward to deeper and more robust flavours and love cooking with game.
What would you do if you weren’t a chef?
Being a chef, you work a million miles an hour, and it’s all about focus and dealing with pressure and steering the ship. Working in an environment like this really suits my personality, I’m an absolute adrenaline junkie, so if I wasn’t a chef, I would most probably would be a fighter jet pilot.
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
My go to dish for cooking at home is always smoked haddock risotto and poached eggs – simple but massive flavours. I enjoy cooking simple but comforting dishes at home. When we have guests over, I’ll go for crowd pleasers like beef wellington or twice baked soufflé.
When are you happiest?
I love hospitality and love looking after people, so I’m happiest in the middle of a busy service, sending out stunning plates of food surrounded by my team: it’s like an orchestra and I’m a conductor.
When you’re not in the kitchen where can you be found?
Walking along the promenade on Brighton beach with my dog, he loves it there! On my days off I really enjoy being in nature, either in the countryside or on a beach. I need a balance – from a busy kitchen to serenity.
What’s your favourite takeaway or comfort food?
If I’m by the coast its always fish and chips but on a Sunday, you can’t beat a great British Sunday roast with proper gravy.
Where is your favourite place to dine?
Gambas in Bristol (my hometown) – whenever I visit, I always go there. Service is relaxed, the menu changes regularly and I love how fresh and simple the cooking is, which never disappoints.
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