Words: Shamim de Brún
On Sunday, The Irish Times published a piece by Corinna Hardgrave alleging Celebrity Chef Richard Corrigan created a ‘high octane’ work environment.
Richard Corrigan opened his D4 restaurant, The Park Café, in November 2022 to rave reviews. Including this one by Corinna herself. Richard is a celebrity chef who is known for his work in Great British Menu, a BBC TV series akin to Master Chef. He also owns and runs London restaurants Corrigan’s Mayfair, Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Daffodil Mulligan. Park Cafe was the first big Irish venture for the Meath-born chef.
Corrina reports that Park Café started to haemorrhage staff almost immediately. She said, “the restaurant director, two-floor managers, six waiters, two barmen, one sous chef and six kitchen porters” within six weeks. On top of that “the general manager called time after service on Christmas Eve”.
Allegations made by staff to The Irish Times via WhatsApp and email include unfair distribution of tips, not being paid for all hours worked, inadequate training, being denied permission to drink water or coffee while on the clock, being called “a pussy” by Richard and a general authoritarian atmosphere.
According to The Irish Times, “former staff spoken to have been working in the industry for many years in many cases.”
Margot, a source on the record with the Irish Times, claimed things shifted when Richard arrived. Richard has been in the kitchen since The Park Café opened. It is reported that he intended to remain on site til the chefs there were “fully trained”.
Margot said in her interview with the Irish Times, “He was extremely rude. He was shouting and insulting everybody, ‘all of you are stupid’; he was shouting at the people, the floor staff, and the kitchen staff. We are not children; we are all adults. We were treated like idiots, and Richard, he said these words, he said ‘you are all idiots’, shouting. It was crazy”.
According to the Irish Times article, The Park Café deny all knowledge of the alleged offences. They maintain that they would have dealt with them appropriately if they were brought to their attention.
Elsewhere on CHAR: This is why no one wants to work in hospitality anymore.