Glass meets chef Daniel McGarey of the Shangri-La at the Shard

Glass meets chef Daniel McGarey, the new culinary force behind the Shangri-La at the Shard, London

AFTER achieving a distinction from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts in 2006, British chef Daniel McGarey started his career straight at the top at the One Aldwych Hotel working under Chef Mark Gregory MCA and Chef Tony Fleming.

Over the next 14 years, McGarey went on to work at such prestigious establishments as the Dorchester Hotel, Hotel Du Vin in Tunbridge Wells, Galvin at Windows, a Michelin starred restaurant at the Hilton Park Lane, Plateau in Canary Wharf and the Gordon Ramsay group as executive chef and head chef. As of March 2017, Chef McGarey brings his skills, tips and tricks to the stunning Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard in London.

Shangri-La, The Shard.A view from Shangri-La, The Shard

Alongside his team of 70, Chef McGarey is overseeing the 24-hour in-room dining room as well as LANG, the hotel’s deli and patisserie, TING, a British restaurant with an Asian touch – the pièce de résistance for McGarey to show off his skills, and GONG, the highest hotel bar in Western Europe.

With the backdrop of best of view in town of London’s impressive skyline, the experience at both TING and GONG is simply breath taking. For a pre-dinner drink we recommend trying the recently released series of 16 cocktails and four mocktails inspired by the greatest film directors of all time. The Director’s Cut collection features a wide range of flavours and genres allowing you to pretend you’re a part of your favourite films – each served in custom made vessels to match the film.

Shangri-La, The Shard.Shangri-La, The Shard

The Wingardium Leviosa, inspired by Harry Potter, combines gin and tamarind tea with butter finished pale ale and is served shaken and is served in a ceramic mug badged with a griffin and garnished with an edible wand of liquorice. Feel The Force, inspired by George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars films, is served in a levitating glass that hovers −powered by an electro-magnetic force.

We can honestly say these are the most fun cocktails we have ever tried and they provide the perfect warm up to the gastronomic feast awaiting a few floors below. With such inviting dishes at TING such as guinea fowl foie gras, savoury fennel tarte tatin, or Cornish lobster, followed by the Shangri-La Or Noir Chocolate Delice served with poached apricot and jasmine, how can one resist?

TING restaurant 3 At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, LondonTING restaurant At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

How has studying at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts shaped you in terms of your cooking skills and as a person?
Studying at the academy was an amazing experience, it taught me so much about the history of the culinary industry and made me realise the immense amount of hard work that has gone into making the industry what it is today.

What was it like working with top chefs such as Tony Fleming and Mark Gregory? And what useful skills and tips have you picked up from them?
I learnt some really great lessons from Mark Gregory. I learnt how to look at everything differently and he really taught me to respect all ingredients, no matter its size, shape or origin. I learnt that a great chef should be able to create something spectacular by utilising every ingredient and minimizing waste. Meanwhile Tony Fleming taught me to always strive to be better at what I do and never accept anything but the best of the best when it comes to quality.

TING restaurant 11 At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, LondonTING restaurant At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

Has cooking and becoming a chef been something you’ve always wanted to do?
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I actually thought I wanted to become a solicitor and applied to university to study law. But that changed when I started a Sunday job at The Carnarvon Arms where I was both a kitchen porter and a sandwich maker in one. To be honest, I really enjoyed the buzz in the kitchen. The chef at the establishment said I had a real understanding of what to do in the kitchen and I was really enjoying making food so my passion for the industry grew from there.

Food at TING restaurant At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, LondonA dish at TING restaurant  At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

You now work at the Shangri-La Hotel in London – how do you incorporate yourself within the dishes whilst creating an identity for the hotel?
I love working with fresh local produce and we source a lot of our ingredients from Borough Market which is fantastic. Seasonality is key so I like to experiment with different flavours and textures and linking that back to our Asian heritage. A great example is our new dish Sweet and Sour Iberico Pork accompanied by smoked baby beetroot and new season girolle mushrooms.

 Shangri-La Suite dining room - Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London HIGH RESShangri-La Suite dining room at the Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

You oversee the deli and patisseries, the restaurant, the bar and the 24-hour in-room dining. That’s a huge amount. How does your approach to each differ?
I apply the same approach to all outlets and it comes down to quality. Quality and consistent quality is the focus at our hotel. We aim to deliver the best quality food and service to our guests and it doesn’t matter if it’s a sandwich or a bowl of congee (Chinese rice porridge), I want everyone to remember where they had that amazing breakfast, afternoon tea or dinner. The way to deliver that is to ensure our employees have the right approach, and the right ingredients and tools to deliver their best work.

Food at TING restaurant At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, LondonDessert at Ting restaurant  At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

What skills and tips would you want to pass on to your team?
The art of preparing fish and meat the traditional way, which is sadly becoming a lost art form, due to shortages in staff in the hospitality industry. I feel it’s my duty to ensure I develop our team to the best of my ability and pass on the skills and traditions I was privileged to receive during my training.

TING restaurant 7 At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, LondonTing restaurant At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

What is your favourite dish to make at Ting?
I have fallen in love with our wok cooked dishes, such as our wagyu beef with black bean sauce.

Food at TING restaurant At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, LondonA dish at Ting restaurant  At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

You have also created a wellness menu – what inspired you to do that?
Having a balanced diet and looking after your self is becoming ever more necessary in the fast-paced lives that we lead. What you put into your body plays a major role in that. We partnered with The Dan Roberts Group to create a number of nutritionally balanced meals that are naturally low in refined sugars to help you feel good, refuel and recharge.

Food at TING restaurant At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, LondonFood at Ting restaurant  At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

There are some really “out there” cocktails on the new movie-inspired cocktail menu at Gong, how did you come up with these?
These drinks were created by the team at Gong Bar. The menu is inspired by the greatest film directors of all time and their passion for storytelling. Mirroring the creativity and craft required to produce a film, each cocktail has its own unique method of invention; from the brewing of pineapple and coriander with cold coffee, to infusing a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with pine needles and honey. The team have created distinct flavours that excite the palate by combining house-made infusions with rare ingredients and the finest spirits.

Food at Shard A dessert at Ting restaurant  At Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London

What is different about Ting from other restaurants?
Ting offers outstanding food, amazing service and spectacular views. What more could you ask for?

by Amrit Chana

The Ting at The Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard London
31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9QU

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