While Gallagher's old pal, Nick feels the badboy has a tough task

Melanie Finn

Restaurateur Nick Munier reckons Conrad Gallagher may have bitten off more than he can chew with his new Dublin venture.

The Hell's Kitchen Maitre D' revealed to the Herald how the controversial celebrity chef, who was declared bankrupt after his South African businesses failed, is facing an uphill challenge if he wants his Aungier Street eatery to succeed.

Nick, a former employee of Conrad's infamous Peacock Alley restaurant, has explained how the industry is tougher than ever before and he'll need all the support he can get for Salon des Saveurs.

"When I worked with him before, I always got paid on time and well treated but the thing is, he's a great chef and should have stayed in the kitchen and left the business end of things to someone else," he said.

"When he first opened up Peacock Alley, it was a whole different game, there was only one or two restaurants of the same standard but now there's so much more competition.

"You have to ensure you look after your suppliers and make sure you pay them on delivery as if one thing goes wrong, they'll take you to the cleaners."

However, he said that Conrad has always had plenty of ambition when it comes to making things work for him and has always let the detractors' comments roll off his back.

"The problem is, he loves all that publicity, even the bad stories -- he thrives on them. People will go to his restaurant for the curiosity factor."