Clare Smyth

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Clare Smyth
Born 1978
County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Education Dunluce School Bushmills
Culinary career

Clare Smyth MBE (born 1978) is a Northern Irish chef who was Chef Patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay from 2012–16. She became the first female British chef to hold and retain three Michelin stars. Before returning to London in 2007 as Head Chef for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Clare worked at Le Louis XV by Alain Ducasse in Monaco. Along with winning Chef of the Year 2013,[1] She also achieved the perfect score 10/10 in the 2015 edition of the Good Food Guide.[2] She regularly appears on TV shows such as Masterchef and Saturday Kitchen.

Early life[edit]

Smyth grew up on a farm in County Antrim. She was the youngest of three children to her father William, a farmer, and mother Doreen, who worked as a waitress at a local restaurant.[3]

At the age of fifteen, Smyth held a job over a holiday period at a local restaurant, inspiring her to become a chef. Clare left school at sixteen to study catering at Highbury College in Portsmouth, Hampshire.[3][4]


While at culinary college,[3] she served an apprenticeship at Grayshott Hall, Surrey.[5] She left that post to work full-time at Terrance Conran's restaurant at Michelin House, London. She followed this with a six-month period in Australia to work for a catering company,[3] and on her return to the UK she staged at a variety of restaurants including The Waterside Inn and Gidleigh Park.[4] She worked at the restaurant of the St Enodoc Hotel in Rock, Cornwall, first as sous chef and then afterwards as head chef.[3] While there, she won the title of Young Cornish Fish Chef of the Year.[6]

In 2002 Gordon Ramsay offered her a post at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.[4]

She went to do a stage at The French Laundry in California and Per Se in New York to gain experience in 2004. In 2007, she was announced as the new head chef of the restaurant, becoming the first female chef in the United Kingdom to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars.[6] Of the 121 British Michelin-starred restaurants at the time of her appointment, only seven had female head chefs.[5] She had left Ramsay's restaurant to work for a year and a half in Alain Ducasse's Le Louis XV restaurant in Monaco, before returning once more to the UK to run the Chelsea-based restaurant.[6] She took over from Zanoni, who was heading to Versailles to open a new Gordon Ramsay restaurant.[6]

In 2013, Smyth was named the Good Food Guide’s ‘National Chef of the Year’.[1]

Smyth was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to the hospitality industry.[7][8]

Most recently, Clare was awarded a perfect ten score by the Good Food Guide of the UK’s 2015.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Good Food Guide's National Chef Of The Year, 2013". 
  2. ^ a b Gerrard, Neil (August 26, 2014). "Clare Smyth scores 10/10 in Good Food Guide at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay". The Caterer. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Day, Elizabeth (16 December 2007). "'She dresses food like Picasso'". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Women chefs: Claire Smyth, Skye Gyngell, Thomasina Miers, Maria Elia, Emily Watkins". The Daily Telegraph. 18 October 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Gordon Ramsay eats his own words". The Daily Telegraph. 20 January 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d Gardham, Duncan; Peterkin, Tom (27 November 2007). "Revealed: First three Michelin star female chef". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "(Supplement) no. 60534". The London Gazette. 15 June 2013. p. 23. 
  8. ^ "Top chef Smyth 'honoured' by MBE". 

External links[edit]