Core by Clare Smyth and Hélène Darroze’s namesake restaurant at The Connaught hotel were the two venues to be newly awarded three stars in the 2021 Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland.
Its new guide comes as restaurants remain closed to diners due to the Covid-19 crisis, although many have been offering takeaway menus.
Smyth, who previously worked for chef Gordon Ramsay, opened her own London restaurant in 2017. She received two stars in Michelin’s UK guide for 2019.
Smyth also oversaw the menu for the 2018 wedding reception of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the duke and duchess of Sussex.
‘It’s incredible,’ said Smyth, speaking during an online Michelin ceremony hosted by Davina McCall this week. ‘We just try to be better every day.’
She said she hoped every young chef in the future ‘has the opportunity to own their own restaurant and achieve success’.
Hélène Darroze said it was an honour for her and the team to get three stars at The Connaught. Her Paris restaurant, Marsan, joined the two-star list in the new Michelin France guide, announced last week.
‘It is with immense emotion and honour that I receive this award,’ said Darroze, of the UK award.
‘My first thoughts are with my teams, especially Kirk Whittle, my pastry accomplice for the last 17 years, executive chef Marco Zampese and restaurant Manager Mirko Benzo, who have been working with me at The Connaught for over eight years.
‘My thoughts also go out to Paddy McKillen, co-owner of The Connaught, who has trusted me to take the reins of the gourmet restaurant.’
This year’s Michelin sommelier award went to Karine Canevet, of Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds.
‘I’ve got a great front-of-house team and we all work together tasting the wines,’ said Canevet during the virtual ceremony.
Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, highlighted the particularly challenging period faced by the hospitality sector.
He said that alongside individual praise the awards were about ‘promoting the hospitality industry as a whole and shining a light on the hard work, tenacity and dedication of chefs and restaurant teams throughout Great Britain and Ireland’.
New figures from Michelin released on Monday (25 January) showed that just 26% of starred restaurants were open globally in the week to 24 January.
Other new stars in the Michelin GB & Ireland Guide
Three restaurants, all in London, were newly awarded two stars in the Michelin Great Britain & Ireland guide. They were Chinese restaurant A. Wong in Pimlico, Da Terra in Bethnal Green (East London), and Story near to London Bridge.
Michelin said there were 20 two-star restaurants in its new guide.
There were also 158 one-star restaurants, with 17 new stars being handed out at this level, it added.
Michelin has also handed out 23 green stars to highlight restaurants paying particular attention to sustainability, whether it’s foraging in hedgerows, rearing animals or making extra efforts to cut waste or contribute to charity and education.
Recipients this year were spread across the Britain and Ireland, including Sat Bains in Nottingham, the Black Swan in Yorkshire, New Yard in Cornwall, Inver in Strachur, Scotland, plus Henry Robertson at Palé Hall in Wales and Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites on Inishmaan, one of the Aran islands off the coast of the Republic of Ireland.