Five minutes with Marc Hardiman
As the newly appointed chef at London’s iconic Galvin at Windows, Marc Hardiman has been dubbed “the rising star to bring back the star” after they lost their Michelin star last year. We caught up with the newcomer to discuss his food loves, hates and everything in-between, plus how he got on in lockdown.
What’s your very first memory of food?
That’s definitely cooking with my grandma on a Sunday. We would have Sunday roast and bake cakes together. I loved spending time with her and that’s really where I suppose my passion for cooking began.
What’s the first recipe you properly learned to cook?
My first recipe was the classic Victoria sponge. It was an old family recipe that no one made quite as good as my grandma. First recipe in the kitchen was vegetable stock as the chef would throw all of my ‘attempted’ turned vegetables in the pot and tell me it was only good for stock!
What’s the one recipe that you can’t live without?
In the kitchen, they have the “coffee recipe”. Each chef is given it when they start and each chef has to make that recipe for me!
Joking aside, bordelaise sauce is an important recipe in my kitchen. It is so delicious, deep and rich. The chefs have to take a lot of care when making it. As this takes a long time to make, they are also careful not to waste a drop.
Which food do you absolutely hate?
I don’t hate any food really. I have an intolerance to dairy so I try not to use it wherever possible especially when there are good plant based substitutes available. Although there is nothing I don’t like specifically, I value quality of produce highly and tend to stay away from things not made with love or respect for the product. It comes through in the food in my opinion and changes the taste.
What’s the one ingredient that you’d take to a desert island with you?
Chocolate. Because I have a real sweet tooth and who doesn’t like chocolate?! At home, I’m a huge fan of Tony’s Chocoloney but at work it’s Valrhona we use in our desserts.
What’s the meal you’d miss the most whilst there?
Sunday lunch. It’s my favourite meal to go out for; a great Sunday roast and watch the sport afterwards is one of my guilty pleasures. Always with proper gravy.
You can have a one-off dinner party on your desert island… who would you invite and why?
That’s a tough one but here goes:
Stuart Mcleod – Stuart was the first chef I ever worked for, and gave me endless amounts of knowledge. He’s quite a character.
Gary Wheeler – the man that taught me how to cook and he’s always good for a laugh. A real prankster!
Michael McIntyre – for the humour. I feel like he would be great to get round the dinner table and have a drink with.
My mum – to keep everyone in check! Plus she’s the life and soul of the party.
Which cookbook would you take with you to the island?
I have a lot of cookbooks but what I’m currently reading at the moment is Out Of My Tree: Midsummer House by Daniel Clifford. I’ve got quite into reading it so would be great to take that and give me some time to finish it off!
Otherwise, from a practical point of view, I’d take my book on foraging with me. I love to go foraging and did a fair bit during lockdown. It’s amazing what incredible produce we have in the UK and walk past on a daily basis without a thought.
How were your plans affected by Covid-19?
For me personally, I spent a lot of lockdown at home like so many others in hospitality. Obviously, life was on hold for a while but I made the most of the time, working on menus and development for once the restaurant reopened. I also used the time to get in my garden and grow some ‘homegrown’ vegetables as well as making the most of exploring the suburbs of London.
Which meal did you cook the most throughout lockdown?
Throughout lockdown, I made loads of sourdough and then used the vegetables grown from the garden to make lots of dinners. My favourite is my take on a Laksa; fresh, vibrant and full of flavour.
And what did you binge-watch on TV?
Anything on Netflix but my favourite was Ozark.
Where’s the first place you ate at once restaurants re-opened? (or are planning to head to?)
As we write this, I haven’t been able to get out yet but I am looking forward to getting to Decima, Sabor and my favourite local pizza; Bread Stall, as soon as I can.
Congratulations on your new Chef role at Galvin at Windows! Tell us some more about Galvin – what is the restaurant’s concept?
The restaurant is 28 floors up and is known for incredible views so my vision is to deliver food that matches the views. The menu is based around seasonal, market-driven British produce using the best quality available, maximising flavour while still keeping the simplicity of the ingredients used.
Why do you think people flock back to Galvin at Windows time and time again?
I think a lot of this is down to the hard work by Chris and Jeff Galvin who are beacons of the industry. I also think that the panoramic views are second to none, great service and exemplary food gives a timeless experience that I believe guests will always come back for.
Are there any new dishes we can expect to see on the menu over the coming months?
Dishes which are flying out of the kitchen currently are: BBQ Quail – which comes smoked under a cloche; and English strawberries, white chocolate & basil – which is a real seasonal favourite and let’s face it, you’ve got to make the most of strawberry season in the UK!
Learn more about London’s iconic Galvin at Windows here.