|Tom Galvin has spent 30 years in restaurant design focusing on kitchens in projects around the country. His work can be seen everywhere from Darden Restaurants chains to independents. Galvin of Winter Garden recently spoke with Orlando Sentinel staff writer Sandra Pedicini. (March 26, 2010)
view Orlando Sentinel article by Sandra Pedicini, March 28, 2010.
By Sandra Pedicini, Orlando Sentinel
Tom Galvin, who has spent 30 years in restaurant design focusing on kitchens in projects around the country. His work can be seen everywhere from Darden Restaurants chains to independents. Galvin of Winter Garden recently spoke with Orlando Sentinel reporter Sandra Pedicini.CFB: How have kitchen design and restaurants changed over your career?Light foods, more salads, less calories, things of that nature. The trend is basically a Seasons 52 menu. That’s where everybody is moving to … You’re seeing right now a lot more open kitchens, more of a European kitchen. It’s a very difficult thing to work. It takes longer to serve you. You have to work around, not on a straight line. The difference between Europeans and us is, they enjoy eating and they take their time. We just eat. That’s all we do, and so it’s reflected in exactly how we design things. The biggest, hottest item right now, you look at something called the plancha. This is a griddle that’s not insulated, that gets up to 850 degrees. It can sear meat right away. There’s other fascinating equipment out there. There’s an anti-griddle. It is something you put into a dessert area that actually has a temperature of negative 50 degrees, below zero and you take products, you kind of fold them together and they freeze almost immediately and you scrape it off and put it on a plate. That kind of technology is out there. Not too many people even know about that piece of equipment. Induction cooking is another thing. It’s very quick, using magnetic technology. In order to work with an induction burner, you have to change the entire way you know how to cook. On the induction it’s 75 percent quicker. If you sear a piece of meat on the induction, you wait. You’re almost done with everything else, then you put the stuff on the induction. It speeds things up.CFB: You mentioned open kitchens. Are more restaurants asking for open kitchens?
We’re getting more people asking about it. You have to be very careful. The big difference between an open kitchen … you’re paying those people a lot more per hour, so your labor cost is higher on an open kitchen. When a client comes to us and says we want an open kitchen, we say, be prepared to pay these people more per hour because they’re on display. They become like wallpaper actually that moves around.CFB: Is there more demand for green design?
Everybody’s talking about it. . . . They need to look at their electric bill, water, drainage, sewage, gas consumption, things of that nature. Unfortunately they don’t take that into consideration. They look at the overall equipment cost. As consultants we try to educate them. . . No matter what we map out, in comes the equipment dealer who says those magic words to my client, “I can save you (money)” and everything’s out the window. We can say, “That’s great, but over a five-year period you’re actually going to save more money if you put what we originally specified.”CFB: Are you getting pushed more to cut costs?
Yes … Ultimately the owner has the last say. He or she is signing the check. I talk to my class about this, I’ll go through case studies where I’ve zeroed in and shown them the problem areas. I’ve had a student raise their hand and say, didn’t you draw this? I’ll say yes, I did. I’m telling you where the mistake is. I knew I didn’t want to do this, but the owner said this is what I want.
CFB: What are some of your favorite restaurant designs, that you weren’t involved in? I love Tchoup Chop at Universal Studios. Not only is at an open kitchen, I look at all the hand-blown glass, the water, the lilies in the water. There’s a lot of red. If you use too much red it can have…a negative effect. Things will look like it’s muddied or gray. There’s just enough yellows and reds and blues in there. You walk in there, you’ve got to smile.. . . I spend too much time staring and not enjoying my food.