In this month’s Chef’s Table, we talk to John Quigley, chef and owner of Red Onion. Known for creating a wide range of vegan, gluten free and vegetarian dishes, the restaurant has also introduced a ‘taster’ menu after the success of the Autumn taster last October.
Where did you learn to cook?
“I have been cooking since I was 10, ever since I was allowed to fry the mushrooms for Saturday night steaks. I’m self taught, so I’m always learning.”
What inspired you to become a chef?
“I have early memories of making rum and raisin ice cream on holiday in Spain I was 3. We grew up with long holidays in Spain, so I was surrounded at an early age by good food. Travelling regularly and wanting to try something new has always inspired me.”
What do you cook at home?
“Whatever the family feel like! I usually only manage to cook dinner a few nights through the week, so it’s often quick dishes like steaks or a stir fry. We tend to have a roast on Sunday, and we’re big on weekend brunching at the moment. After work it’ll be a good old fried egg sandwich, with ketchup naturally!”
What’s your favourite dish on the current menu?
“It has to be the Spanish inspired paprika pork loin with chorizo ragu and aioli. It’s a perfect combination of smoky, spicy and zesty.”
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
“Apparently I was youngest head chef in Good Food Guide in 1985/86, then re-entered it in 2016. I travelled the world as a rock n roll touring chef for 10 years – Guns n Roses, Bryan Adams, Bee Gees, Tina Turner to name a few – so many highlights from that period, not all repeatable tho! Being able to travel was a real highlight, I’ve been very lucky to work in places like Japan, California and Australia.”
What’s the best thing about being a chef
“The pleasure in watching happy smiley faces!”