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Top 100: Richard Corrigan, Corrigan Restaurants

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Written by:
Top 100: Richard Corrigan, Corrigan Restaurants

Overall ranking: 90 (88 in 2012)
Chef ranking: 22 (24 in 2012)

Dublin-born Richard Corrigan has been working in kitchens for over 30 years. He earned his first Michelin star in 1994 while heading the kitchen at Stephen Bull in Fulham, London. From there, he went on to open Lindsay House in Soho, London, where he was again awarded a star. Corrigan now owns Bentley’s (an oyster and seafood restaurant just off Piccadilly), Corrigan’s Mayfair (a fine-dining eatery on Upper Grosvenor St), Dickie’s (a bar in Corrigan’s Mayfair opened in partnership with the Dead Rabbit bar in New York), and Virginia Park Lodge in Cavan, Ireland (a former hunting lodge with rooms, which hosts events and weddings).

What we think
Corrigan was born and raised on a 25-acre farm in Meath, Dublin. He started his career at the Kirwin hotel in Athboy, Meath, before moving to London in 1985 to work with Michel Lorain at the Le Méridien hotel in Piccadilly.

He went on to work at Mulligan’s in Mayfair (which would one day become Bentley’s) before launching Bull’s Fulham Road restaurant, where he was awarded his first Michelin star in 1994.

Two years later, he teamed up with Searcys to raise food standards at Searcys Brasserie at the Barbican Arts Centre in London. This fed into a joint venture – Searcy-Corrigan Restaurants – with the group buying Lindsay House restaurant, where Corrigan gained a Michelin star in 1999. After numerous launches, such as the House restaurant and the English Garden in Chelsea and a contract to operate a bar and restaurant in London’s Gherkin building, Corrigan acquired Bentley’s and relaunched it. Two years later he launched another Bentley’s site in Dublin with Irish businessman Barry O’Callaghan, but departed the company in 2009.

The equity that Corrigan had in Lindsay House allowed him to open his own flagship restaurant, Corrigan’s Mayfair, and close Lindsay House. The restaurant was awarded London Restaurant of the Year 2008/9 by the Evening Standard and won three AA rosettes within the first three months.

Since then he has invested in Virginia Park Lodge, an estate in Cavan, where he was married 27 years ago. It hosts private parties, corporate events and weddings. The 100 acres of grounds include a kitchen garden and polytunnels whose produce supplies not only Virginia Park Lodge, but all of Corrigan’s restaurants.

Corrigan opened his first bar, Dickie’s, in September 2016. It features cocktails created by mixologist Gregory Buda, from the renowned Dead Rabbit bar in New York. Home-made sodas are also available, with ingredients from the garden at Virginia Park Lodge. Until last year, Corrigan had an outpost in Harrods, called Bentley’s Sea Grill, which ran for four years. However, the partnership came to a halt when the store decided to rethink the food hall.

Corrigan is passionate about using local, fresh produce and supporting independent suppliers. He has been a spokesperson and ambassador for the Slow Food Movement and Slow Food UK Chef Alliance since its inception in 2011, and champions good, clean and fair food.

Further information
Aidan McGee appointed head chef of Corrigan’s Mayfair >>

Chef director Ross Bryans leaves Corrigan’s Mayfair >>

Richard Corrigan and family: how the business is evolving >>

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