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We Grill: Carl Fogarty

Emma Sharples, Take Stock reporter, interviews Carl Fogarty MBE – the man, the myth and the biking legend!

When it comes to racing bikes, Carl Fogarty is world famous. He is the most successful World Superbike racer of all time in terms of the number of championships and race wins. What may be less well known is his recent foray into the hospitality market.

Having retired twelve years ago, after setting record after record and wrecking more than a few bikes, Carl Fogarty has turned his attention to the slopes. Verbier, the hub of world-renowned skiing, is home to La Vache (Swiss-French for cow). With famous owners, including Fogarty, James Blunt and Lawrence Dallaglio, this bovine is more than a little bit special.

Bringing affordable food to snow hungry punters, La Vache is making waves in the exclusive resort. With guests including Heston Blumenthal and co-star of the popular ‘Foggy and Whit: Givin’ It Gas’chat show tour, James Whitham, this cow is far from the slaughter.

Which is the best biking circuit in the world?

My favourite circuit is the old Assen circuit in Holland. I won twelve out of fourteen races there. I used to love that circuit, they have changed it now. They dug it up and redid it all about five years ago. But that, for me and most people, was the favourite circuit.

What do you think of the people who race the TT track circuit, some at speeds of around 130mph?

Very brave. Been there, won it, got the T-Shirt, set the record in 1992 which lasted seven years. Obviously very dangerous, but massive respect to anybody that does the TT.

Money no object, which bike would you buy and why?

The Ducati Panigale, which is the coolest looking, sexiest bike on the road.

Let’s talk food – If you had to choose what would be your favourite?

Probably English food. But if I were to eat one food all my life, it would have to be Chinese or Italian or Greek food or maybe a Sunday roast – like vegetables, chicken, roast beef, steak and things like that. Race Food! In a gastro pub I do like a steak with a bit of peppercorn sauce and some vegetables and stuff.

Favourite places to eat out?

The Cliff Restaurant in Barbados, on the west coast. Up here (in the North West near Blackburn), we’ve got quite a few good eating out places. I like the Freemasons at Wiswell.

Best kitchen gadget?

My wife.

Why did you decide to get involved in the La Vache restaurant?

We all had a mutual friend, me, Lawrence Dallaglio and James Blunt – a guy called Rob Sawyer. He is in the industry – hotels, nightclubs and stuff. He has a main place out there (in Verbier) called the Farinet Hotel. He just had this idea of getting involved with this restaurant and renaming it and getting us three to put a bit on money in. In the bar we all have themed toilets – mine is on the start line of a race. Then Lawrence’s is a scrum rugby thing and James’s is a concert with all the people in front of him. We’ve all got pizzas named after us too. It’s all doing really well.

So what’s the Fogarty pizza?

It’s a bit @*!? actually, I am a bit !*&?!* off. James Blunt spat his dummy out, because he wanted red onion and spicy salami, so I just stopped him crying and gave in a little bit. Mine is just cheese and tomato, Parma ham and rocket. I don’t even like rocket. But actually mine is number one on the list and has been the biggest selling one so far. Whoop!

Heston Blumenthal was at the launch of La Vache, did he have any suggestions for dishes?

He did, but he didn’t tell me – at least I don’t think he did, it was a good night!…

Have you been to the fat duck?

No, but I have met Heston a couple of times, because he is quite friendly with Nigel Howarth, the top chef near where we live. He was at Nigel’s wedding a few years ago.

When visiting the restaurant, how do you see your role? Manager, punter, bartender or waiter?

Punter, definitely punter. I am just there to eat and drink.

Where did the restaurant name come from?

It was James Blunt’s idea that one. He has a place there where he spends quite a lot of time – and La Vache means fighting cow in Swiss-French, believe it or not.

So how long till we see a 135mph lap of the TT circuit?

When I make my comeback next year!

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