Drawing: Clare Smyth

Autographed drawing of chef Clare Smyth

Culinary star Clare Smyth, the first British female chef to hold and retain three Michelin Stars, has just been named the Best Female Chef on the planet by the World’s Best 50 Restaurants judges. It’s an accolade she found a little ‘strange’ given that she has competed on a level playing field with men since the beginning of her career.

“Separating male and female chefs for me is strange, but there’s not enough women coming through at the top so we need to do something about it,” she said in an Independent interview. In 2002 she joined Restaurant Gordon Ramsey in London, running it for 13 years, before opening her debut establishment, CORE BY CLARE SMYTH in Notting Hill last summer, with the philosophy, ‘artisanal flair and sustainable ethos.’ It won the Best Restaurant at the GQ Food and Wine Awards this week.

I actually meet the friendly and laid back Clare, when she was one of the judges for the UK Young Chef Awards held at Harrods in 2015 and I was masquerading as a photographer with a food fetish. I did do a sketch of her but never got it signed so sent this quick one to her at CORE, and she duly obliged.

A confession: she signed in pencil and corrected my misspelling of her first name, which I have subsequently sorted for this post. Spelling was always a truant in my education.

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