The Team

We are hospitality advisors, hotel concept developers and turnaround focused project managers. We deliver a 360 project, acquisition, strategy, planning, architectural, branding, interior design, PR and marketing, bar and kitchen design, and costed menu development.

Des McDonald- Ex Soho House CEO

Des McDonald

As chairman and founder my role is to advise and support our creative team. With over 35 years in global, hospitality, lifestyle management this has given me a unique and experienced perspective on micro and macro businesses.

As ex-CEO of Soho House, Caprice Holdings and Annabels Groups my expertise lies in luxury sector, restaurants, private clubs and bars.

My house style is open and collaborative with both client and staff. We pay homage to the classic way of hospitality delivery with contemporary tech to streamline operations.

My favorite dish is Linguine a la Vongole at Aldos le Sirenuse Positano 

My favourite concept I have worked on is: Holborn Dining Room at The Rosewood Hotel London

Olivier Lavigne du Cadet

Olivier Lavigne du Cadet

As a co-founder of Insight Hospitality, I am bringing my operational expertise to our clients.

Having managed and developed various concepts internationally over the last 15 years, like La Petite Maison in Istanbul, Brasserie Zedel in London or Brasserie Flo in Tokyo, I bring innovative and adapted solutions to our clients.

I always follow the latest trends and new technology in order to adapt and have a bespoke approach to each project.

I believe in good concepts that will marry respect for ingredients, good food and beverage, a personal service, atmosphere and ambiance. All should work in harmony to deliver a memorable experience. My work focuses on bringing our team together and deliver each aspect of this in tune.  Also, due to my experience in finance, I do focus on the financial models for our clients.

My favorite dish is “Pain perdu” or French Toast in La Petite Maison

My favourite concept I have worked on is the various evolutions of the roof top at Selfridges.

Steve Tonkin- Food development- Chef- Middle eight

Steve Tonkin

35+ years at the forefront of the London restaurant scene, a multi award winning chef. I have worked in Michelin starred kitchens, famed institutions from The Ivy, Le Caprice, Dean Street Townhouse to Holborn Dining Room, Wentworth Club and Selfridges. With a wealth of knowledge in product, provenance and suppliers to deliver UK and international recipe development. Specialising in writing menus, costings, stock control. Also proficient in health and safety, food safety procedures and due diligence.  In addition, having vast experience in kitchen design and equipment procurement.

My favourite dish is: Gary Lees Whole Lacquered Suckling Pig when he was the Head Chef at Bam Bou, Fitzrovia.

My favourite past concept: Rofuto in Park Regus, Birmingham.

 

Peppe Panta- Bar and Wine Expert

Giuseppe Pantalone

From a very early age always craved understanding different cultures from around the world, food and beverage has always been of great help in understanding local traditions and customs.

After my very first visit to London I immediately fell in love with the city as it gave me the opportunity to live, experience and understand a wide variety of cultures. I feel lucky to have worked in some successful venue like Franco’s or Cantina del Ponte, together with some talented chef allowing me to expand my F&B knowledge on a daily basis.

The main focus in my career has always been on numbers and wine, but most of all, I have always enjoyed creating memorable and unique experiences for each and everyone.

My favourite wine is: Primitivo Fatalone, from Puglia South East Italy

My favourite past concept: OKN1, New City Collage, Hoxton

Emily McDonald- Marketing and social media

Emily McDonald

Growing up, there wasn’t a summer I wasn’t working in either a restaurant, deli or hotel. Working in these quick paced and busy atmospheres gave me the understanding of how a hospitality business runs from a young age.

After graduating university with a first in International Hospitality Management, my interests journeyed into the marketing sector. Whilst working with the renowned advertising agency Plus Agency, this gave me the confidence to begin my journey as as Retail Marketing Assistant with Canary Wharf PLC. Working with these distinguished establishments gave me the opportunity to work with a multitude of different high street brands and taught me how to be adaptable due to working with such a variety of clients.

From these years of experience I am now proficient in content creation, planning marketing strategies, client liaising. I love working with our trusted partners to put the most effective marketing techniques for our clients, helping their businesses thrive.

My favourite dish is: My grandma’s Chicken Soup, Barkingside.

Des McDonald Restaurants have helped us conceptualised our restaurants and bars in London, they are always professional creative and inspirational - we would happily recommend the team.

Patrick King, CEO | The Doyle Collection

Des McDonald Restaurants partnered with us to develop our Japanese bar and restaurant, Rofuto, on the 16th floor of our Park Regis Hotel in Birmingham, they are creative, professional and have delivered at all levels of the project.

Harj Mattu, Owner | Staywell Hospitality Management Ltd

Des McDonald has been instrumental in transforming the city into one of the world’s top dining destinations; McDonald knows restaurants from kitchen to boardroom.

John Walsh | The Independent

His management expertise lies in choosing the right location, the right building and the appropriate style with his designer.

Nicholas Lander | Financial Times