Shaper: Des McDonald


Transcript of the show
It was in my DNA to leave school and go into the business. I went to The Ritz and I really enjoyed the energy, the noise, the buzz, the camaraderie. I absolutely knew this was the career for me.

I was always interested in the mechanics of how businesses worked – I asked lots of questions.

I don’t look too far behind and I don’t read my own press and I didn’t always have a game plan, but it was very much about working towards a goal.

Am I hell bent on making loads of money? No. Do I want to enjoy the journey? Absolutely. Do I want the people that work with me to enjoy the journey? Yes.

I have always made decisions on gut instinct – that definitely came from working under pressure in a kitchen environment.

Moving from the shop floor and the kitchen environment to the management office was a very lonely place for a couple of years.

I have always trusted my own judgement – you have to strive forward and go with your gut.

London is on a food and beverages high and it’s absolutely electric.

I still worry that in this country we are not supporting the entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s about imparting your wisdom, your dream, your ideas and your creativity to the right people, because you can’t be there every day. 

Des McDonald

Des McDonald is the former Head Chef at the Ivy Restaurant in London, former Managing Director of Le Caprice and now an independent restaurant consultant.

After 20 years with Caprice Holdings, Des left in 2012 to set up his own consultancy and restaurant business. Just two years down the line and he has already gained a number of high end clients in London, Ireland, Scotland and the US.

Des’ ultimate aim was to open his own restaurants, and within 17 months he opened his first -Concept, The Fish & Chip Shop in Islington, a 70 seater restaurant with that Victorian style/charm of the old British Fish & Chip shops. Just 9 months later came Holborn Dining Room, with 150 seats this is a high end restaurant, delicatessen and bar, situated in the Rosewood Hotel right on the border between West End and City. Just 3 weeks later came Q Grill, a125 seat UK meets Memphis style BBQ restaurant in Camden. Further sites of both The Fish & Chip Shop and Q Grill are due to open later in 2014, including a pop up of Q Grill on the roof of Selfridges in May 2014.