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108 Garage Chef Chris Denney Is Pretty Serious About Winning a Michelin Star

His Evening Standard interview is mildly alarming

Chris Denney
Courtesy 108 Garage

108 Garage and soon-to-be Southam Street chef, Chris Denney, has been speaking to Nick Curtis at The Evening Standard. In an interview that recalls chefspeak from yesteryear, Denney talks as though not having consulted his PR, which means two things: it is refreshingly candid but also not without chef cliche. Although the restaurant belongs very much the new-school — Noma-lite — the 39 year-old chef recalls the old-school; his hat-trick of F-words Ramsay-esque. Here are the 10 best lines from the interview:

  1. His mum still cooks for him: “She says I’m malnourished so she came to stay and cook stew.”
  2. On pork and pigs: “When I get in [mum] has bacon sandwiches waiting. I’ve got nothing to me, though I eat like a fucking pig all day.”
  3. After work: “Fags and red wine.”
  4. And his vice: “KFC is my weakness.”
  5. The challenges chefs face. He doesn’t see his mates and also split with his girlfriend shortly after the restaurant opened. But: “Not because of the hours. I think we were just getting on each other’s tits.”
  6. On Michelin: “I’d love a star.”
  7. For those who thought Michelin inspectors were incognito: “We’ve had four visits, the last one from the top boy, who sat here for four hours and told me three things: to take a day off, to stop looking so sick, and to enjoy myself.”
  8. When asked what he’ll do if he doesn’t win one: “I’ll go upstairs and blow my fucking brains out.”
  9. On his peers’ praise: “Cheeky fucking bastards, I’ve been cooking for 18, 19 years: if anything I should have been better earlier.”
  10. 108 Garage’s success might never have been: “[An advert for a young chef to cook Italian tapas on Gumtree] sounded absolute shit but I said I’d go with it.”