Antoinette Bruno: Why did you start cooking? What
or who inspired you to become a chef?
Richard Corrigan: My father was a small farmer in rural Ireland.
He brought home the odd local farmer and poacher. I was brought up between
the orchards and the fields. That's where my appreciation of the simple
things began. I was offered a job in a local business by a friend of my
father at the age of 14. It was a part-time job initially and I carried
on from there.
AB: Who are your mentors?
RC: I haven't been inspired by any one person. I do have a lot
of respect for Albert Roux of Le Gavroche. He has given me good, strong
advice. My mentors are my mum and dad. They gave me the inspiration of
the joys from simple food when I was growing up.
AB: Whom do you respect among your peers?
RC: I have respect for Fulvio Pierangelini of Gambero Rosso in Tuscany
and Albert Roux for all his beautiful advice.
AB: What destinations do you like for culinary travel? Why?
RC: The Chinese repertoire has always interested me. They have been cooking
for 2000 years, and they have been doing it well. They have so much more
to offer than what we get to experience here in the Western world.
AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool?
RC: A large stone mortar and pestle. They are always on hand to ground
naturally rather than using mechanical equipment.
AB: What kind of people do you hire?
RC: I hire smart people with a sense of humor and some sense of loyalty.
AB: What advice/tip do you have for culinary students
just getting started?
RC: You have to feel the want to do this job. You need to play on the
same playing field as myself. My advice is to keep your eyes open and
your mouth shut - exactly what I have never done!
AB: Does formal culinary training matter? Is it necessary?
RC: I think that it is an important tool. It is always good to learn good
habits. I am rarely disappointed by people who come from a good college
or training course.