Clare Smyth catered the “after-party” for the Royal Wedding of Megan and Harry, She was awarded a perfect 10 and the highest ever new entry in the UK Good Food Guide 2019. This year she was recognised as the World’s best female chef by World’s 50 Best Restaurant. As Chef Smyth says: “ I want to be a great chef, just because I am one, not because I am a woman” but accepted the accolade in the hope it would inspire her peers. What’s more, Clare received two stars as a new entry in the 2019 Michelin Guide, 5 AA rosettes. Yet Core by Clare Smyth only opened in August 2017 in London’s Notting Hill. Previously chef Smyth had helmed Gordon Ramsay Hospital Road, retaining its 3 Michelin stars.
Aside from her impeccable credentials, Clare has always been admirably driven and focussed. Aged 17, she moved from the farm in County Antrim, Northern Ireland where she was born in 1978 and spent her childhood. She came to England to study culinary arts at Highbury College. She honed her skills working and staging both in the UK and Australian restaurants, alongside the most influential chefs around the world including Heston Blumenthal and The Roux Brothers.
Chef Smyth joined Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in 2002, working her way up to become Senior Sous Chef. Wanting to enhance her experience, Clare joined the team Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo for two years 2005-2007 before returning to London and Gordon Ramsay Restaurant as Head Chef in 2007. She was made Chef Patron in 2012 and appointed MBE for services to hospitality in the following year.
Since opening her first solo restaurant Core in August 2017, Clare’s star has continued to rise. The restaurant, in the heart of Notting Hill, celebrates the finest British produce and craftsmen. Chef Clare thinks nothing of digging potatoes at dawn with an agronomist to better understand how to make her signature even better. Throughout the menu, Clare’s adamant belief in sustainability, using every part of the produce whether meat, fish or vegetables and meticulous attention to detail shine through alongside her classical French training. As near neighbour in Notting Hill, chef Brett Graham of The Ledbury says: It takes a chef with real skill to turn something as simple as a potato into something absolutely delicious. The dining room is a reflection of Clare’s own understated elegance, cool, blonde, crisp, quietly, subtly in pursuit of perfection.
Chef Clare is a game-changer in her model of how she operates her restaurant as a de facto internal academy running a weekly training day when kitchen staff are given projects to research which they present to the whole team. There’s also a daily training session prior to each service, when a staff member prepares notes and briefs the team on a particular dish or wine to inspire the team to do their work with greater confidence and knowledge. Her mantra: “we’re here to take care of people” applies both to her team - and to her customers. Though there is no salt and pepper on the table, it will always be provided and meat cooked as the diner requests. Likewise, the relaxed dress code endorses Clare’s aim to make Core by Clare, a new kind of more informal fine dining restaurant with Clare’s own playlist and more of a luxe home feel.
- Lamb carrot elevating humble carrot slow-cooked with braised lamb neck and lamb bun/dumpling made with lamb fat, crisp lamb fat, carrot top pesto with chervil and basil with housemade sheep’s yoghurt. Customers are encouraged to stappeta the plate with the bread.
- Potato with seaweed, smoked trout, herring roe, beurre blanc and salt and vinegar crisps.