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The best chefs in London are women, as per Michelin

Helene Darroze and Clare Smyth are the first women in the U.K. to win three stars beating male rivals to top accolade

(From left) Hélène Darroze at the Connaught and Clare Smyth (Images from @heleneDarrozeattheConnaught and @chefClareSmyth, Instagram)
(From left) Hélène Darroze at the Connaught and Clare Smyth (Images from @heleneDarrozeattheConnaught and @chefClareSmyth, Instagram)

Michelin announced two new three-star restaurants in London on Monday — both led by women chefs.

The awards go to Hélène Darroze at the Connaught and to Core by Clare Smyth. They are the first women in the U.K. to win three stars in their own right, though Smyth was the guardian of the three stars at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, where she was formerly chef patron.

“I’m thinking of all the women working in kitchens, and I want to tell them what is possible,” Darroze said on receiving the award in an online event. “Just believe in yourself, and anything can happen.”

French-born Darroze opened her restaurant at the Connaught hotel in 2008. She holds two stars at her establishment in Paris. Smyth trained under Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse, but left Ramsay to open Core in 2017.

Another notable award was a second Michelin star for A. Wong, making it the first Chinese restaurant in the U.K. to hold two stars. Da Terra and Restaurant Story, both in London, also were new recipients of two Michelin stars. Seventeen restaurants were awarded new single stars. A total of 23 restaurants also received a new green-star award for their sustainable approach to gastronomy.

The Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland is being published at a time when U.K. restaurants are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Prime Minister Boris Johnson initially ordered establishments to shut March 23, and there have been two further lockdowns since then.

“Why then would we be launching a guide and awarding Stars?” Michelin said in a statement. “We want to promote the industry as much as we possibly can. We want to celebrate the many amazing restaurants in Great Britain & Ireland and all the hugely talented chefs and restaurateurs. We want to shine a light on our industry.”

Chef Hélène Darroze (Image: @heleneDarrozeattheConnaught, Instagram)
Chef Hélène Darroze (Image: @heleneDarrozeattheConnaught, Instagram)

Michelin said it began work on the guide in August 2019 and much had been achieved before the lockdown. Michelin delayed publication, and this year’s guide will only be online, which allowed for late updates. It said no shortcuts were taken and there was no change in standards.

Michelin also announced 16 new Bib Gourmand awards, including seven in London. There are a total of 126 Bib Gourmand restaurants in the new guide, recognized for offering good food at competitive prices.

Three stars are given for “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey,” Michelin says. “Our highest award is given for the superlative cooking of chefs at the peak of their profession.” Two stars represent “excellent cooking, worth a detour.” One star is for “high-quality cooking, worth a stop.” Michelin also has the Bib Gourmand, a separate category of award for good-value, inexpensive restaurants.

The French tiremaker produced its first guide in 1900. It was free of charge until 1920 and was intended for chauffeurs. The volume contained practical information, including street maps and tips on repairing tires. 

Below a list of all the winners in the three-star and two-star categories, the one-star establishments in London, and the new Bib Gourmands, or good value, spots.**Indicates a new entry.

Three Stars

Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London**Core by Clare Smyth, LondonGordon Ramsay, London**Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, London (new entry)Sketch (the Lecture Room & Library), LondonFat Duck, Bray, EnglandWaterside Inn, Bray, England

Two Stars

** A. Wong, LondonAndrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Auchterarder, ScotlandBelmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxford, EnglandClaude Bosi at Bibendum, LondonThe Dining Room, Malmesbury, England**Da Terra, LondonDinner by Heston Blumenthal, LondonKitchen Table at Bubbledogs, LondonLa Dame de Pic, LondonLe Gavroche, LondonL’Enclume, Cartmel, EnglandGreenhouse, Dublin, IrelandPatrick Guilbaud, Dublin, IrelandHand and Flowers, Marlow, EnglandMidsummer House, Cambridge, EnglandMoor Hall, Aughton, EnglandRaby Hunt, Darlington, England**Restaurant Story, LondonSat Bains, Nottingham, England

One Star (London)

AmayaAnglerAquavitBarrafina**BenaresBrat**Casa FofoCélesteChez BruceCity SocialClove ClubClub Gascon**Cornerstone**Davies and BrookDining Room at The GoringDysart PetershamElystan StreetEndo at The RotundaFive FieldsGalvin La ChapelleThe GlasshouseGymkhanaHakkasan Hanway PlaceHakkasan MayfairHarwood ArmsHideIkoyiKaiKitchen W8LeroyLocanda LocatelliLyle’sMãosMarcusMurano**MuseThe NinthPétrusPied à TerrePollen Street SocialPortlandQuilon**Restaurant BehindRitz RestaurantRiver CaféSaborSt JohnSeven Park PlaceSocial Eating House**SolaTrinityTrishnaLa TrompetteUmuVeeraswamy

New Bib Gourmands

Fallow, LondonFlor, LondonLegare, LondonMo Diner, LondonParadise, LondonPeckham Cellars, LondonVolta Do Mar, LondonKentish Hare, Bidborough, EnglandThe Royal, St Leonards on Sea, EnglandThe Square, Porthleven, EnglandStag & Hounds, Burrough on the Hill, EnglandNoto, Edinburgh, ScotlandGoldie, Cork, IrelandSpitalfields, Dublin, IrelandTable Forty One, Gorey, IrelandVolpe Nera, Blackrock, Ireland

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