'I'm not going anywhere at all,' insists top chef
Restaurateur busy stamping out 'whispering campaign' that he is leaving Dublin hotspot
"I AM Bentley's and I'm not going anywhere." That was the message from controversial celebrity chef and restaurateur Richard Corrigan when he arrived back in Dublin to stamp out what he called a "whispering campaign" in the Irish restaurant business that claimed he was leaving Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill on St Stephen's Green.
The award-winning chef, who has cooked for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Queen Rania of Jordan and Bono, described how he had to personally contact fellow restaurateurs to ask them to stop spreading rumours about him.
"Normally I don't do begrudgery and there was a lot of it when I first arrived in Dublin. But recently I've had to phone up a few of my colleagues and say 'listen guys, behave yourselves' and ask them to stop perpetuating these rumours.
"There is no question that I'm going anywhere," he said. "Bentley's is a huge success and we have the official accounts to prove that.
"Just yesterday, we had 70 lunches booked in and 110 covers last night."
He added: "We are probably one of the few restaurants in central Dublin that has made a profit."
The chef, a farmer's son from Athboy, Co Meath, who spends his time between his London restaurants (Bentley's off Regent Street and Corrigan's in Mayfair) and his Dublin restaurant, also said that he has gone "above and beyond" his duties to ensure his Irish restaurant maintains its high quality.
"I dedicated 65 days of my time to Ireland last year. There was an agreement with shareholders that I would do 30 days a year in Dublin so I've given over and above what was asked," he said.
"I don't need to do that. I do it because I want to and because I have a passion for Bentley's Dublin," he said. "This is not some flash in the pan. I have huge loyalty to the Oyster Bar." Corrigan has also confirmed that he is in talks with nightclub owner Louis Murray about becoming creative director of the La Stampa Hotel group and trying to recreate the famous Dublin restaurant Jammets, which closed more than 40 years ago.
The outspoken chef was in Dublin in the run-up to filming a new television series based on London restaurant Corrigan's of Mayfair.
The programme, which will be shown on Channel Five in the UK, will be based on 17 hours worth of live footage a day following the goings-on in the restaurant's kitchen.