Chef Richard Corrigan made the headlines last week when Bloomberg videoed him doing a taste test of tech-bro meal replacement powders like Huel and Soylent. His verdict came as little surprise to anyone who has even the remotest understanding of the chef. Corrigan, the son of a farmer from county Meath in Ireland, is a chef who is open, honest, and hospitable in a way that’s fallen out of fashion. He operates two restaurants in Mayfair — Corrigan’s and Bentley’s — institutions whose location and place in London dining recall the loudest roar of the Celtic Tiger. Corrigan still roars, fabulously. Writing for the Irish Times this weekend, food writer and cookbook author Diana Henry brought out the best and most entertaining of the man, the chef, and the candid, comedic version of both.
Here are the five finest lines.
- Corrigan on the making of Richard Corrigan: “Sitting in the long grass listening to corncrakes, stealing from orchards, being out and about from dawn till dusk...that’s not cheffy romanticism, I did that.”
- New Nordic influences, the ignoring of: “It has encouraged chefs to produce some surprising stuff, and that’s good, but there’s a danger of it being imitated and imitated badly. And that chef philosopher thing? I can’t stand it...Those hipster, tattooed chefs with their f***in’ beards? They’re everywhere — from Denver to Dublin. Christ, is there a nursery just breeding them?”
- Tasting menus, the relative merits: “I don’t want a tasting menu. I just bake my bread and cook my fish. I want young herring the way you eat it in Holland — the new season’s herring, the babies that are salted in barrels — with a bit of chopped onion and frozen gin. You don’t need any foam, and you don’t need ‘single barrel’ anything to drink with it.”
- On Brexit and particularly the Irish border: “When Boris Johnson talks about Brexit and compares the Irish border to one between two boroughs of London, I just think ‘You cheeky f***er’. He really does have a masters in talking shit.”
- When bidding his interviewer farewell: “The last thing he says to me, apart from ‘goodbye’, is ‘Yum yum yum yum yum,’ delivered in low, greedy growl.”