Clarissa Dickson Wright

Published 26th June 2014
Before rising to fame as a celebrity chef, Clarissa Dickson Wright was a barrister. There are many legends surrounding her time at the Bar, none more colourful than her impromptu appearance at a Gray’s Inn Smoking Concert.

Notoriously ‘male only’, the concert encouraged Bar members to showcase their own talents. Clarissa attempted to circumvent her exclusion in spectacular fashion: brazenly donning an evening jacket and a wig, she masqueraded as an uncannily androgynous youth. At the conclusion of one Bencher’s performance on a comically small banjo, Clarissa removed her disguise, revealing her true identity. The Bencher was furious, and the concert was brought to a premature end, with repercussions promised against the perpetrators. The concerts eventually faded from fashion, but perhaps they are due a revival – unisex, of course – in honour of Clarissa herself.