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Restaurant Industry News caught up with Danio Domingues, GM at the newly opened bar and restaurant The Residency Notting Hill!

Talk us through your journey into the industry. What inspires you? 

Passion for hospitality and great experiences are my drive in this industry and working with like-minded, modern, and dynamic people.

I’ve had a connection to hospitality all my life; my family have worked in some of the most esteemed restaurants in London, such as the Savoy, the original Langan’s Brasserie, and Sheppard’s, and I found myself working my way up from the kitchen to the bar and then into operations.

You have had lots of experience within the industry, what have been your top three memorable experiences? 

I’ll never forget opening my first high-end, after-hours nightclub, called APM – Always Past Midnight. On the 28th floor of the Center Point building in central London, it was a truly phenomenal location! Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Micheal Fassbender, Cara Delevingne, Calvin Harris, and The Martinez brothers on the decks certainly made for an evening not to forget.

Throughout the years I’ve been lucky enough to organise private events for some incredible people and brands – from Kate Moss’ birthday parties to launching global luxury hospitality and lifestyle brands which have grown to be household names.

Finally, our very special opening of The Residency Notting Hill in May, where all our friends and family came together to support the launch. India Rose James curated the art in the space, and it was brilliant to have all the amazing local artists who have contributed works come down to celebrate.

Talk us through The Residency Notting Hill, and the cuisine focus?  

I wanted to offer clean and (as much possible) a sustainable supply link when creating our menu with my Head Chef Carniel Francis; the target was at least 95% of our produce to be locally sourced.

Strong vegan and vegetarian options, and Halal meats were a must, but at the heart of what we have created is extremely tasty food, from brunches to our dinner service.

We wanted to create an offering that was modern European with a Caribbean influence, in line with the history of the neighbourhood. The Residency is about the locals and the location’s rich heritage, and we wanted this to be reflected in our menu.

We’re currently working on two new sites, to which we’ll be applying the same philosophy – tapping into the local area and community to create something that honours its cultural heritage. Unlike many other brands, we are keen not to offer a copy-paste experience across our locations, each bringing something unique and authentic to the table.

How has the pandemic changed the hospitality industry in your opinion? 

True professionals are increasingly hard to come by, and ones who will commit to staying with you in the long-run even more so, as all competitors are offering ridiculous salaries and benefits. It’s tricky to find people with grit that can work hard and be trained up.

We’re seeing Commis Chefs all of a sudden in Chef de Partie roles, and basic bar men promoted to cocktail or bar managers due to a shortage of workers – more and more people are having to learn on their feet in order to fill the gaps created by workers moving abroad.

Is it important to adapt to suit consumer demand/trends? 

Absolutely, this is hospitality! Our customers are our clients, and we must do all we can to listen, learn and offer what is being asked for, and push boundaries to elevate the experiences we are creating.

What can we expect to see at The Residency? Will there be events? 

Our Saturday brunch events are becoming extremely popular with live Music, and we will also be having regular events for our artists in the coming months.

What would your advice be to anyone that wanted to work their way up the ladder in the industry? 

Stay humble and become an expert in your craft. Starting with a good established company or senior teams who have many years of experience is an obvious plus in order to learn by osmosis.

Make sure your work contract is solid and that it is written that you will be trained up and certified with acknowledged online and physical classes – your employer should be invested in growing your talent, and now more than ever employees can be empowered to expect this.

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