David Galvin is Inspired Villages’ head chef at Austin Heath, one of our retirement villages in Warwickshire. Here David shares his career story, his cooking inspirations, and what life at Inspired is like.
I got into the industry many years ago whilst working at a local pub in Coventry, where I worked the bar and floor for a few months before my interest was sparked by the camaraderie and fast pace of the kitchen. I was hooked from then on and never looked back. I then decided I’d like to better myself and having heard stories about hotel life, I found a job working at Alveston Manor in Stratford-upon-Avon, which is part of Macdonald Hotels. While working here I was enrolled in a new apprentice chef scheme at a catering college just outside Glasgow to learn the ins and outs of the trade for a few months. We were mentored by some of the current Culinary Olympics team and got to work in some of the big hotels and restaurants in Glasgow.
My proudest career moment was gaining a Rosette. I achieved this after I left Macdonald Hotels and worked as a sous chef in a small boutique hotel outside Oxford, the King’s Arms, Woodstock. From there I worked for some big well known pub chains opening new sites around the country before joining Inspired Villages in 2019.
The best thing about being a chef at Inspired is the work-life balance. It’s very different to other industries, when you work in restaurants and pubs, you’re doing all the hours in the world. At Inspired you’re set 40 hours, you do 40 hours and in the evenings I’ve got the time to walk my dog and cook for my partner.
My cooking style is very much about keeping things simple with good strong flavours. ‘Foams and textures’ can be really tasty in the right setting but it’s just not my style. I take a strong influence from around the UK, there’s a lot to be said for a good piece of meat or fish being the star of the show and adding a couple of things to the plate to compliment the dish. For me, a good roast lunch done properly takes a lot of beating! We always try to use local suppliers as much as possible too – the butcher we use at Austin Heath is five minutes down the road and the one I use for cooking at home too.
At Austin Heath we keep things traditional and have lots of comfort food on the menu. We always run roast specials for Sunday lunch and we offer delicious fish and chips every day, which is especially popular on a Friday. One of the best feelings is looking through the kitchen doors on a Sunday lunchtime and seeing a full restaurant with residents and their families enjoying their meal together.
If you like the sound of building your chef career with us, visit our careers pages to see current food and beverage opportunities.
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