‘Locked down’ celebrity chef, Richard Corrigan doesn’t expect his London restaurants to be operational again before September.
The Co Meath native shut the doors on his Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill, Corrigan’s Mayfair and his Daffodil Mulligans sites in London last Friday in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The operation employs 140 and in a telephone interview today from his north London home, Mr Corrigan stated: “I am thinking it a four-month closure - minimum.
He added: “I can’t see myself up in running before mid-August getting ready for September.”
One of the best known Irish people working in the UK, Mr Corrigan stated: “We are in for a very, very rough year - a horrific year.”
Reflecting on the closure of his businesses due to Covid 19, Mr Corrigan stated: “I am still in a bit of shock over the whole affair.”
He stated: “It is a very low point - it is for everyone - not just me.”
Sixty six million people across the UK were today experiencing their first day of lockdown and Mr Corrigan stated: “There is no one on the streets. You wouldn’t believe it. I live in north London and there is no one on the street - it is eerily quiet."
Mr Corrigan’s Virginia Park Lodge venture in Co Cavan is also closed and he remarked: “I wouldn’t mind being in Virginia right now walking in the woods rather than being locked in a house in London.”
Mr Corrigan agreed with the ‘lock-down’ measure.
He stated: “The only thing to do now is to lock us in to all our houses - 100% - the only way to stop this. We must look after the health of the people around us - that is the absolute priority."
Asked on the impact of Covid 19 on his business, Mr Corrigan said: “We are in a great place to come out of the other side but when is the other side? Four months? Five months? Six months?”
He stated that the company is to pay staff until the end of March and then the situation will be reviewed.
He said: “We are trying to keep our spirits up. There have been no job losses as yet. I can’t say that in one month’s time - I can’t say that in two months' time.”
Mr Corrigan added: “There is no question - we will come out of this. We have very little debt. We have a very strong company.”
Mr Corrigan stated that the re-opening of his London restaurants after Covid 19 “will be the greatest moment” in his career.
He stated that prior to Covid 19, business at his three London sites “was flying”.
He stated: “We were in for a cracking year - the year that never happened."
Mr Corrigan however stated: “If I don’t get co-operation of landlords I won’t be able to get up and running again in business. Clearly, the landlords will help.”
Mr Corrigan said that he has to get used to not working and spending all his time at home.
He stated: “I will get used to it. My garden has gone into bit of a jungle and there is a month’s project in that. Get the shovel out, get digging, get planting.”