ROSL People: A Day in the Life of Gavin Quinn, Head Chef...
... So what does it take to manage the kitchens at a busy London Clubhouse? Well, my day begins at 6am and the first job for my team is to get the stocks on; we make all our own from veal to chicken to vegetable. The flavour you get into a sauce from homemade stocks cannot be compared. The next job is to get the bread doughs started - we currently make two types of bread here; a rich buttery brioche and caraway bread rolls for the Restaurant.
I grew up in a small town in the midlands of Ireland called Mullingar. I’ve had a passion for cooking from a young age and had lots of part-time jobs in hotels growing up in Ireland. A lot of my family members either turned out to be chefs or butchers and both my uncles are well-known in chef circles in Ireland, one becoming a judge on MasterChef Ireland, so it’s in my blood really.
When I’m home, I drop in and do a shift in the restaurant with them and I always pick up new ideas, techniques, or inspiration.
I spent nine years cooking in the Scottish Highlands, where I did my formal chef training. The produce is amazing in that part of the UK; you really feel the seasons in Scotland from the first grouse and beautiful game in Autumn, to the appearance of wild garlic, chanterelles, and wonderful Scottish rhubarb in Spring. More recently, I spent four years in Ecuador. My wife and I opened a modern European restaurant and were very lucky to be the number one restaurant in the city from the day we opened 'til the day we sold it to a young and very talented Ecuadorian chef.
The thing I missed most about the UK was working with, and learning from some of the best chefs in the world; that’s the draw of the eclectic London food scene. I’m always up for the challenge and that’s what makes it the best job in the world for me.
My background has given me a passion for benefiting from the seasons to get amazing produce at its best and being able to turn that produce into something delicious.
My team and I are striving to achieve an ethos of everything being produced on site, which is actually quite rare in this day and age. We make chutneys, terrines, pâtés, breads and pastry, and for me that’s the real thrill; being able to teach young chefs the skills to treat great produce with the care it deserves and really make it sing!
I love working at The Royal Over-Seas League because of the great team I have around me. I hope to push myself and them to the next level and to make the members feel proud to dine and entertain their friends from the around the world for many years to come.
Ag ithe sona! (Happy eating!)