02 | Feb | 11

Richard Johnson

Michelin Star For Street Food

I expected the pigeon to be dry. But, you see, my grandfather used to race pigeons – and maybe my mouth was puckering involuntarily. Gramp wanted his pigeons to fly because he never could. And they rewarded him every time – I remember seeing the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. Whenever his beloved pigeons were troubled with watery droppings, he would sit and feed them his own special formula – two parts burnt toast and one part strong tea. In other words, the remnants of his breakfast. Out of respect to Gramp, I never ate pigeon.

But he’s been dead 20 years. And you can wish your life away with all that mourning, can’t you? So, eating Richard Corrigan’s pigeon in puff pastry, with savoy cabbage and madeira gravy was my way of saying goodbye. And what a way to do it. The tender pigeon evidently had not been fed on my Gramp’s formula. I love Corrigan’s food. Always have – always will. So to get to taste his food every day on Cookery School (currently screening Monday to Friday, 2.05pm on Channel 4) was a joy. And now he’s going to be one of the judges for the 2011 British Street Food Awards……

Today we were filming something on street food for the Good Food Channel’s Market Kitchen Big Adventure. Richard wanted to know all about the Awards, so I took him to Exmouth Market – with wonderful offerings from Spinach And Agushi and Moro. He loved it. Ironic really. He’s a Michelin starred chef, but a believer in real simplicity. He knows that, if you have a superior product, you do as little as possible to it. He went away talking about doing street food outside Bentley’s, his amazing oyster bar and grill on London’s Swallow Street. Watch this space.