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July_Aug UK Chef

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14

But in recent years the use of restaurant space to showcase non-culinary arts has gone up a gear, whether that be Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy restaurants, chef Mark Hix filling the walls at his eateries, art showcases at Carousel in Marylebone or Scott’s on Mount Street, or pieces from the likes of Tracey Emin, Phyllida Barlow and Sarah Lucas at The Ned. What’s more, Kerridge argues that the idea of restaurant space doubling as gallery space is being taken considerably more seriously. Perhaps too seriously by some: one work on display at Kerridge’s, by artist Carne Griffiths, uses tea, alcohol, paprika and rock salt among its materials. “It’s not hard now to be in a beautiful restaurant with great art on the walls, but the combination so often seems without reason and the result feels soul-less,” he argues. “Art is put on the walls without much thought, or it’s brought together by an interior designer who’s more concerned about using it to match the curtains. The art doesn’t add another layer to the experience. And for me that’s what a restaurant should be - not a temple to gastronomy but with food part of the overall whole that includes the tableware, the service, the room. “It’s not that idea of having the most expensive art to marry with some posh menu either. We’re moving away from that dated idea,” adds Kerridge, whose father was a graphic designer and infused him with a love of all things arty. “I’ve never been one for using caviar or truffles or gold leaf with a dish for their own sake. I just aim to use the best ingredients for the job. And that’s what we’re doing with the art. You know, I’ve seen a lot of work by superstar artists and, well, a lot of it isn’t all that good. It’s not the name or the price tag that evokes the kind of feelings you might get from a work by a much less well-known artist’s work. It’s just good art, that’s all.” So with Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, he’s teamed up with Liam West, founder of art consultancy West Contemporary - who’s worked with the likes of the Cafe Royal and the Royal Albert Hall - to more carefully curate a selection of works in a space that, they both say, somehow felt like it was begging for it. The work on 15