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An interview with Darin Campbell, Executive Chef of the Hotel Du Vin in Glasgow

Posted on: May 10, 2012     |     0 comments

Darin who couldn’t be happier in his “Dream Job” at One Devonshire has a cv that most young and ambitious Commis can only dream of.  His passion for food started at an early age as he was growing up on a farm in Largs, Ayshire with his dad and step mum and collecting the cream from the dairy cattle was one of his earliest memories. Being around all that fantastic fresh produce coupled with his mum being a tremendous cook instilled a life long passion for cooking and using the best local produce.

Darin got his first kitchen experience at the 5* Sheraton Grand under Jean Michel Gauffe where he stayed in the tough but fair kitchen for 3 years.  He then decided that he wanted to get involved with Michelin star cooking and headed off to One Devonshire as a Demi Chef De Partie.  Here he worked under the then head chef Andrew Fairlie and he stayed for four years.  During this time he learned and progressed up to Senior Sous Chef. At that point he took the decision to go to London and worked in the Michelin star restaurant Petrus working under Marcus Wareing - working 18 hours a day! He described this time as a totally different experience as it was so intense but totally enjoyable. After he served his time at Petrus, Darin then went to the 5* Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge working under Head Chef Eric Chavot. This was an enjoyable time and Eric was a really creative influence. Eventually Darin returned to Scotland having committed to joining former Head chef and friend Andrew Fairle at the now famous Fairlies Restaurant at Gleneagles.  This move meant that he was involved with Andrew from the start and assisted with the design of the kitchen and then working long hard hours in the team of five. The hard work really paid off when the team received their first Michelin star after only 7 months, this was one of Darin’s proudest moments.  The 2nd star came 5 years later while he was still there and is still the only 2 Michelin restaurant in Scotland.

Towards the end this time Darin married and had his first child, with his second on the way he decided it was time to make a move and after a long wait he eventually secured the role as Head Chef role at  Ballachulish Hotel which had previously had a Michelin star. He arrived and got to work with a small team of 3 in the kitchen, within 18 months of being there he had received his first Michelin star.

Unfortunately after a family bereavement he and his wife took the decision to move back closer to his step mother in Perthshire.  He then took over at the Fortingall Hotel, where he was really happy until a new management team was appointed with an idea to take the food in another direction.  This coincided with a phone call from One Devonshire telling him that Paul Tamberinni was leaving and asked if he would consider returning to Hotel Du Vin. A couple of meetings ensued and Darin agreed to return to Hotel Du vin at One Devonshire Gardens.  In his own words it was a ‘no brainer’ for Darin to take up his dream job.  

He has now been there over a year and still thoroughly enjoying the role.  Darin has a strong team in the kitchen and the front of house, with a recent addition of Craig Painton (who was the Restaurant Manager at Fairlies) it looks from the outside that they will continue to grow and improve. Going from zero rosettes to three rosettes in the first 8 months at One Devonshire I’m sure it’s a sign for future awards, Darin says “I don’t strive for awards, but will be happy if they come our way”.

Speaking with Darin you can see that he is very happy and proud of where he works, and after being shown around the hotel and kitchen its clear that the rest of the staff feel the same.  Having had the priviledge of visiting the kitchen I can understand why he has high staff retention, all the kitchen staff seemed content in their role which indicates what kind of Chef and man Darin is.

When asked about any advice he can offer to young chefs starting out in their career he said ‘understand the importance of putting the hard work in during the early part of your career’.

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