Ricardo Gibbs – Rick has been living in Tooting since 1991. Before he opened his own restaurant, Rick had been Head Chef at the Chelsea Arts Club for over a decade, and has been renowned for his love and knowledge of Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine. In 2001 he opened Rick’s Cafe in Tooting, now more appropriately named Rick’s Restaurant, as his first solo venture. Well, not completely solo as Rick’s Restaurant has been co-managed by his lovely wife Annie, praised for being the greatest host in the neighbourhood.
Rick was born in Chiswick but grew up and lived all over the place: Devon, Cornwall, London and Valencia, Spain. Rick’s mother comes from La Coruña (Corunna) in Galicia, Spain, where people are as crazy about eating shellfish and fish as in Japan. She was a great cook and had been preparing traditional Spanish dishes all her life.
No wonder then that Rick and his brother Tony, who joins Rick’s team for special occasions like wine-tasting evenings, grew up to become superb Chefs. By the way, as of Autumn 2011, the restaurant team has been joined by another member of the family and a fantastic Chef – Rick Jr.
Rick Gibbs has cooked for celebrities, including Lloyd Grossman, Rowan Atkinson, Charlton Heston and Eric Clapton, and was invited, along with Alistair Little and Gordon Ramsey, to cook for the Spanish Ambassador at the ICA.
Rick is completely in love with fishing, although ‘not really good at it’, as he likes to admit. He loves 70s rock music, enjoys wake boarding and walks along the pond in Tooting Bec Common. He is a great admirer of the Tooting Gala Bingo/Granada Tooting Cinema building and a passionate art collector. (The other day he headed towards the butcher’s with 300 quid in his pocket to pay for his services but, on the way, he happened to run into this marvellous art piece and ended up not going to the butcher’s that day after all.)
Last but not least, Rick is one of the food pioneers, having long believed in supporting small domestic food producers both in the UK and abroad.
RICK SUPPORTS SUSTAINABLE FISHING
Rick’s Restaurant stopped serving tuna in Spring 2010. It serves mackerel, sardines, mussels and line-caught sea bass, however. Why? It’s complicated. Many people’s livelihoods depend on it. Three quarters of world fish stocks are currently fished beyond sustainable limits. Around one quarter of the UK’s sea bed has been estimated to have been damaged by trawling and other industrial activities. Marine habitats and species are also struggling to adapt to climate change. Up to one billion people rely on fish as their primary source of protein. 250 million earn a living from fishing. Fish are a renewable resource, if managed properly. It is vital that we act now to prevent further stock decline.
RICK’S NEXT-DOOR HAND-MADE BREAD SUPPLIER
Local Italian baker, Antonio Palmieri, supplies all Rick’s Restaurant bread. The bread is hand-made, vegetarian and contains no additives and no preservatives. Palmieri lives and works right next door. This means the bread we serve has the lowest carbon footprint possible and is as fresh as can be.
ARE CHILDREN WELCOME AT RICK’S?
Of course they are! Absolutely! Rick does not believe in a separate menu for children, though. Therefore half portions of most dishes are available. We only have one high chair but you’re more than welcome to bring your own attachments. Rick’s Restaurant supports the Breastfeeding Welcome campaign.