At Restaurant Gordon Ramsay Clare Smyth became the first and so far only female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars in the UK. When she finally left the Ramsay fold to open her debut solo venture Core in 2017 expectations were therefore incredibly high.
As her Notting Hill restaurant approaches its second year it’s clear that these expectations have been met. Core has had praise heaped on it from all sides – it picked up a perfect 10/10 score in the 2019 Good Food Guide and won The Service Awards at the National Restaurant Awards 2018 – with the restaurant also being awarded two Michelin stars. As debut ventures go this is impressive stuff.
Smyth has also won the respect of her peers with Core and has also proved that sophisticated fine dining is very much alive and well in the capital. In the short time it has been open the restaurant has become a beacon for excellence in its food, service style and design thanks to Smyth’s unwavering dedication to her craft and her passion for creating the best possible dining experience. As a chef and role model for future generations of chefs you’ll find no better person.
The restaurant has two tasting menus – one focusing on its classic dishes and another that’s more based around the seasons – as well as an à la carte offer. Dishes are imaginative, with Smyth often eschewing the luxury ingredients found in restaurants of similar ambition. So, a potato dish that might be served with caviar comes instead with herring and trout roe; and hogget and mutton – once seen as inferior meats – also make an appearance. In some cases, vegetables are made into hero ingredients, such as in her classic ‘lamb carrot’ dish, in honour of the carrot she would pinch from the pot when cooking braised lamb.
The Chef of the Year award is sponsored by Ritter Fresh