Born and raised in Ballivor, Richard Corrigan grew up on a farm, surrounded by farms, with farming in his blood. His upbringing consisted of helping his siblings milk the dairy cows, scrumping local orchards, and smoking bacon with his mother. Farming is all about growing ingredients, and Richard Corrigan grew up to love and respect good ingredients.
After working in a local hotel kitchen in his teenage years, Corrigan studied professional cookery at the Dublin Institute of Technology. He cut his teeth through apprenticeships in kitchens throughout the Netherlands, before arriving in London and becoming head chef at Stephen Bull’s Blandford Street Restaurant at 22, then at Mulligans of Mayfair to develop his own style. His profile as a chef began to rise in 1994, when he won his first Michelin star working as the head chef of Stephen Bull’s restaurant on Fulham Road.
Corrigan’s next Michelin star came at his own restaurant, Lindsay House in Soho, winning the award in 1997. The restaurant kept this award until it closed ten years later at the end of its lease. In the meantime, Corrigan had bought and refurbished Bentley’s Oyster Bar, which had struggled previously despite its endurance as a London staple since 1916. He had worked at the bar over a decade ago, and he still owns the venue to this day.
After the closure of Lindsay house, Corrigan’s profile shone even brighter after opening Corrigan’s Mayfair in 2008, and making it thrive amidst the harshness of the financial crisis. The restaurant won ‘London Restaurant of the Year’ by the Evening Standard in the year of its founding, then the ‘AA London Restaurant of the Year’ the year after, and earned three AA Rosettes.
In 2019 Corrigan took over the restaurant space left by Nuala and created Daffodil Mulligan. The restaurant is quintessentially Irish, serving classics that reflect Corrigan’s upbringing and philosophy. He resents the term philosophy, as he dislikes cooks who place themselves above their ingredients, of which he believes are the paramount feature of good food and should be respected with near reverence – classics shouldn’t be mucked around with.
Corrigan is particular about sourcing his ingredients, only using seasonal produce, usually from his own horticultural operation of six gardeners who supply his restaurants. Virginia Park Lodge in Ireland, where Corrigan held his wedding reception, then bought decades later, supplies his restaurants with vegetables from its garden too. All produce is organic.
The man is a great personality, a critic once remarked that he’d be the best chef in the world if his cooking was as good as his talking. His Saint Patrick’s Day morning celebrations in Corrigan’s Mayfair are also legendary, if you’re lucky enough to get a space, of course.