Hélène Darroze in 2007
|Born||23 February 1967|
|Cooking style||French cuisine|
Hélène Darroze (born 23 February 1967) is a French chef. She has held two Michelin stars at one time or another in each of her two restaurants, Hélène Darroze at the Connaught in London and Restaurant Hélène Darroze in Paris.
In 1990, after graduating from university, she began working for Alain Ducasse in the office of the Le Louis XV restaurant in Monaco. She was convinced to enter the kitchen by Ducasse; it was her only time working elsewhere than her family restaurant, and she later said that she was working in the office about half the time. After working for Ducasse for three years, she returned to her family's restaurant and kept its existing Michelin star. After the restaurant suffered financial difficulties and closed in 1999, she opened Restaurant Hélène Darroze in Paris and won her first Michelin star in 2001, picking up a second in 2003. The second star was lost in the 2010 version of the guide.
In 2008, she was named as the new chef at the Connaught in London, replacing Angela Hartnett, who had operated Angela Hartnett at The Connaught there on behalf of Gordon Ramsay Holdings. Darroze took over as part of a £70m refurbishment of the hotel, and in addition to the restaurant, she is also responsible for of the hotel's catering services. Hélène Darroze at the Connaught was panned by restaurant critics when it first opened. Food critic Jay Rayner described the food there as "Two of the very worst dishes ever to be served to me at this level". Despite this, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2009, and then a second star two years later in 2011.
Darroze is a fourth generation chef, the previous three having run a family restaurant in Villeneuve-de-Marsan, France. Before becoming a professional chef, she took a degree in business. She was also the inspiration for the character Colette in Pixar Animation Studios' 2007 film Ratatouille.
She has two adopted daughters from Vietnam, Charlotte and Quiterie. She alternates on a weekly basis between staying in London and in Paris, in order to split her time between her two restaurants.
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