2009 Award Winners CHEF OF THE YEAR 2009

Richard Corrigan - Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill

This well known UK-based Irish chef burst onto the Dublin dining scene in the summer of 2008 with the opening of Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill on St Stephen’s Green and – although the fact that the ‘downturn’ arrived at pretty much the same time as he re-opened the former Brownes Hotel in its newly smart yet unfussy livery must have given him cause for reflection – Richard Corrigan’s down-to-earth ethos of giving real food and real value could not have been more timely for a city so often accused of over-hyping and over-pricing.

Some may question our choice of a chef whose main business interests are in London for one of our major awards, but – unlike British ‘names’ like Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay, who never intended to have an everyday role in the Irish restaurants that bear their names – Richard Corrigan is no consultant, but a committed proprietor/executive chef who spends a significant amount of time in his Dublin kitchen and is determined to make this stylish, ingredients-led and value-driven dining experience a success.

And there could be no better ambassador for quality Irish foods than Corrigan, who has a vision for marketing Ireland, based on the energetic marketing of this country’s traditional hospitality and outstanding produce – his respect for these resources, which he regards as largely untapped, will be clear to anyone who reads his new book, The Clatter of Forks and Spoons (the title is a quote from Joyce’s, The Dead), which is not just a great cookery book but a hymn to good simple food. Mr Corrigan, we wish you well – and hope that many may be inspired to follow your example.

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