Tantrums and seafood on café chic’s menu

2014-11-03 07:00

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Soon, hell-raising Irish celebrity chef Conrad Gallagher will prepare rabbit meat and duck-egg creme brûlée at his latest Cape Town restaurant called Café Chic.

The famous but controversial chef told City Press that his new eatery would open on December 15 – and that it would be “a cool chic restaurant” with up-market food in a contemporary setting.

In 2009, Gallagher shut his trendy Green Point noodle bar called Geisha and left South Africa in debt. At the time, he was sequestrated in the Western Cape High Court after Geisha’s staff downed tools with 20 customers sitting at tables waiting to be fed on a Monday night.

After a five-year stint abroad with his wife, former Port Elizabeth model Candice, and their two young children, Gallagher is back.

He told City Press this week that Geisha’s creditors had been paid. He added that his signature starter dish of Tuna Tartare with pine nuts would be available at Café Chic for R95.

The seafood may well be served with temper tantrums on the side. The 43-year-old star of TV shows – including Conrad’s Kitchen on BBC Food – is known for his mood swings.

The fiery chef has cooked for rich and famous clients around the globe. He has worked for Donald Trump, prepared food for Bill Clinton at the White House, and was recruited by former Sun International CEO Peter Bacon to upgrade fine dining standards at the chain’s five-star properties in early 2000.

His restaurants in New York, Dublin and London all lured well-heeled patrons – but closed down because of financial problems.

The Irish blog called Sligo Today describes him as a liar and a “con man”. A foodie website called Vegas Eater refers to Gallagher’s “sketchy background” and notes the fast demise of his PoshBurger Bistro in Las Vegas in June last year: “In perhaps one of the shortest tenures of a restaurant helmed by a Michelin-starred chef, PoshBurger Bistro from Irish chef Conrad Gallagher is now closed.”

Gallagher has also been accused of being a bigamist.

In Cape Town in 2006, four months after tying the knot with Candice, Jennifer Harrison from New York City pounced on the couple, saying he was in fact still married to her. They met when she started working as a barmaid at one of his restaurants.

Gallagher was raised in the Irish farmlands.

Apparently inspired by his mother’s home cooking, he started training to be a chef at the age of 12.

At 25, he won his first Michelin Star, making him the youngest chef to receive the coveted award.

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