Gavin grew up in the South End of England, and began his culinary quest in a simple way: helping his mom in the kitchen. Building his future craft one pastry at a time led him to the hectic and demanding London Restaurant scene. “In London, you eat what you are given,” He told us when comparing London to the American Restaurant styles. “In America, you eat what you want.”
Gavin’s big break from the jam and afternoon tea crowd came from another family member. “My uncle had a restaurant in Santa Barbara, that’s where I got my start in America,” he explained to us. Flash forward fifteen years of experience later, seven as a Sous Chef, and we have this interesting chap as the creator of all things baked, dipped, smoked, sous-vide’d, dolloped and cured at Wood Vine.
“Approachability is the key to our success,” he said when talking about his outlook for Wood & Vine. “You can utilize classical French techniques in cooking, but also keep it causal.” That’s a far cry from the “eat what you are given” mentality he became accustomed to in London. In preparing dishes or having dishes prepared for him, it’s the creative simplicity he admires most. Regarding operations, Gavin notes “the overall success is grounded in things running smoothly and developing a base clientele for the restaurant. Trust of the staff is also key, which is why it is always important they be hand picked.” 1000 resumes later and our thumbs are extremely sore, but worth it.
After explaining to us his love of bread, the delicious “melt in your mouth” delight bone marrow can provide – and his sad farewell for caloric reasons, to butter, the mouth watering images led us to talk about only one thing: the menu and the goodies that will be on it. “I am really looking forward to utilizing California product. Meeting the farmers, who may be struggling, and introducing their fresh products to the customer is a big expectation,” Gavin explained. It all fits with the “simple and not a lot of fluff” idea. It also fits, literally. “It’s a small kitchen, so it will be beneficial for us to have everything streamlined… shared plates and such need to be ready on the go.”
From the South of England to California, and in between, Gavin has had an interesting journey as a chef. We are excited to have him on the team and look forward to seeing, and definitely tasting, his many creations at Wood Vine.