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Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Richard Corrigan, Corrigan's Mayfair

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Richard Corrigan, Corrigan's Mayfair

Overall ranking: 77 (ranked 92 in 2010)

Chef ranking: 24 (ranked 27 in 2010)

Richard Corrigan - Snapshot

Richard Corrigan is the Dublin-born chef-patron of London restaurants Corrigan's Mayfair and Bentley's Oyster Bar and Grill. Since winning his first Michelin star at Stephen Bull's Fulham Road restaurant in 1994 he has become a major force on the London scene and, through a long-standing partnership with contract caterer Searcy's, has opened a string of acclaimed fine-dining restaurants.

Richard Corrigan - Career guide

Born in Dublin and raised on a 25-acre farm in County Meath, Corrigan started his career at the Kirwin hotel in Athboy, Ireland before moving to London in 1985 to work with Michel Lorrain at the Le Méridien hotel in Piccadilly. After heading up Stephen Bull's restaurant Blandford Street, he moved to Mulligan's in Mayfair, then took a stint at what would become his future acquisition, Bentley's, before launching Fulham Road with Bull and gaining his first Michelin star in 1994.

In 2006 Corrigan acquired long-established fish restaurant Bentley's and relaunched it, before opening a second site in Dublin in 2008 with Irish businessman Barry O'Callaghan, before parting company with the restaurant in September 2009. That same year Corrigan closed Lindsay House and opened his eponymous restaurant at the Grosvenor House hotel, on the former site of three-starred restaurant Nico at Ninety.

Richard Corrigan - What we think

Corrigan's earthy, robust, yet sophisticated cuisine, combined with his larger-than-life Irish personality, has made him a conspicuous fixture on the London restaurant scene over the past 16 years. His ability to marry hearty, bold cuisine with Michelin standards continues to woo the dining public as well as critics and guidebooks.

It bears testament to Corrigan's business mind that his partnership with Searcy in 1996 was initially supposed to be just for six months, to help it revitalise its first retail-style contract, Searcy's Brasserie. But with a partnership established, Corrigan was able to convince the caterer to join forces with him and buy Lindsay House, a Georgian townhouse in Soho, which was on the market at a bargain price. The restaurant opened in 1997, won a Michelin star in 1999, and continued to pick up plaudits right up until its closure in 2008. On the back of the success of Lindsay House, the partnership also launched the House (which was sold in 2002) and the English Garden restaurant (which became the Rasoi Vineet Bhatia in 2004).

Corrigan's prestige rocketed further in 2004 when Searcy won the prized contract to operate a restaurant and bar atop London's Gherkin building, which it opened in 2004 with the help of Corrigan, who also oversaw Searcy's new restaurant at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Corrigan's next coup, in 2006, was to restore the historic Bentley's - which dates back to 1916 - to its former glory, before launching a second in Dublin in 2008. Finally, in the same year, Corrigan ended a three-year "will he, won't he?" period by confirming that he was moving into the former site of Nico at Ninety, at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane. With his attentions focused on Corrigan's Mayfair and Bentley's, the relationship with Searcy's is now on a purely consultancy basis.

While well-known within the industry, Corrigan's public profile has grown significantly since 2006, when he was one of four winning chefs of the 14 who competed in BBC2's *Great British Menu* for the chance to devise the menus for the Queen's 80th birthday celebrations. He has since returned to mentor on the programme in subsequent shows.

Richard Corrigan's ranking in the 2010 Caterersearch.com 100 >>

Menuwatch: Corrigan's, Mayfair >>

Corrigan's Lindsay House closes tomorrow after 25 years >>

Interview with Richard Corrigan on his new Mayfair opening >>

Corrigan's Mayfair website >>

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