What is the main objective of Mayfair Park and Tower Race?
The Mayfair Park and Tower Race is a fun challenge but the ambition behind the event is a serious one. The aim of the race is to raise funds for Galvin’s Chance, a charitable apprenticeship programme reaching out to disadvantaged young people in London. Working with Hilton in the Community Foundation and the Springboard charity Galvin’s Chance offers 18-24 year olds who have had a particularly difficult start to life or who have lost their way a second opportunity. The programme offers training, qualifications and work experience at some of the top restaurants and hotels in the capital and grants the participants, including ex offenders, a unique chance to discover and to deliver the very best of themselves.
What inspired you to get involved?
Having worked in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years I know that with hard work and 100% dedication it’s a field that can give a wealth of opportunities. I myself started out many years ago as a young East Londoner without great prospects but found that working in restaurants was a fantastic way of realising my ambitions.
Galvin’s Chance was founded in partnership with Fred Sirieix, the General Manager at Galvin at Windows, who also felt that we should be making a big effort to support these young people. He too had seen the difficulties that a lot of young Londoners were getting into and we both wanted to do all we could to try to provide them with an alternative path.
We all need to be given a chance to prove ourselves and it’s a privilege to be able to help these young people.
Which other restaurants and hotels have opened the doors to the programme?
Galvin’s Chance has had fantastic backing from the industry and it’s been great to see how many establishments have been willing to get involved and to take on our apprentices. The programme has been running for two years and in that time the young people have had opportunities to work at more than a dozen restaurants around the capital including the RAC Club, Roast, The Cinnamon Club, Coq D’Argent, The Cavendish, various Hilton hotels and of course Galvin at Windows. We have even more locations lined up for next year’s apprentices.
What is your strongest memory of your training years?
Having great teachers like Terence Conran, who gave amazing advice but also expected you to deliver.
If you could work with one chef who would it be?
Guy Savoy [world-renowned French chef, owner of 3 Michelin-starred Guy Savoy in Paris, a 2 Michelin-starred sister restaurant in Las Vegas and 4 smaller restaurants in Paris and Singapore].