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Gallagher loses his last Irish restaurant

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Chef Conrad Gallagher, who recently lost his job at the London restaurant named after him, has now lost his remaining Irish restaurant, Peacock Alley in Dublin, because of rent arrears.

The city’s Fitzwilliam hotel, which housed the restaurant and licensed it to Gallagher, announced on Saturday (16 March) that it had ended its agreement with him and taken back possession of the property. Discussions are under way to find a replacement chef.

Ampleforth, the company that owns the Fitzwilliam, said Gallagher was “in breach of several provisions” of his agreement with the hotel and “the situation had become unsustainable”. It claimed his licence fee payments were in arrears by more than €80,000 (£49,000), and that he “is also substantially in arrears with several other payments that are provisions of the agreement”.

The company, which also owns the Royal Dublin and Fitzwilliam International hotels in Belfast, added that it regretted having to take action against Gallagher and had made “several attempts over the years to provide a lifeline for him”. It also pointed out that the fixtures and most of the fittings in the restaurant, which was designed by Sir Terence Conran, belonged to the hotel.

The 30-year-old chef, who once controlled six restaurants in Dublin, leased Peacock Alley four years ago and ran it as a separate business. It soon won a Michelin star and appeared to prosper.

The latest blow comes less than a month after his contract with the London restaurant, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, was terminated by the man who had recruited him, Mean Fiddler music promoter Vince Power. Police later confirmed that allegations of theft and fraud at the restaurant were being investigated.

After the loss of his restaurant, the once dazzling career of the Donegal-born chef is now in serious doubt. He has retreated from the limelight, refusing to talk about his future plans or to confirm reports that he is about to put his upmarket Dublin home on the market. It is estimated to be worth about €1.3m (£804,000).

Gallagher’s brother, Keith, who lives in Letterkenny, County Donegal, said he had not spoken to him recently and knew nothing of his plans. The two are joint owners of the town’s Metropolitan Bar.

by Anthony Garvey

Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 21-27 March 2002

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