The Connaught has confirmed that two-Michelin-starred French chef Hélène Darroze is to take over at the landmark hotel in Mayfair, following its nine-month, £70m renovation.
Darroze, one of France’s leading female chefs, succeeds Angela Hartnett who, together with Gordon Ramsay Holdings, parted company with the hotel last year.
Darroze, who runs her eponymous restaurant Helene Darroze on the Left Bank in Paris, will launch her restaurant, Helene Darroze at the Connaught, in June once the redesign of the room has been completed by Paris-based designer India Mahdavi.
In addition to the restaurant, Darroze will oversee all food service throughout the hotel including the Gallery, an informal dining room overlooking Carlos Place, and private and in-room dining.
She will also be responsible for the revival of the Connaught Grill which will be returning in the autumn.
Darroze will split her time between her two restaurants, initially focussing on the London operation and is expected to take a flat in Mayfair. She will be bringing a team of staff from her Paris kitchen to lead a brigade of local chefs.
Commenting on her appointment at the Connaught, Hélène Darroze said: “Expansion was not particularly on my agenda, but I visited The Connaught, and fell in love with the hotel both in terms of its history and its philosophy of offering the finest of everything. It felt like a perfect fit.”
Stephen Alden, chief executive of Maybourne Hotel Group, owner of the Connaught, said: “This is a tremendous partnership. Hélène is a very talented chef whose intuition and creativity are second to none. She is also a perfect match for the Connaught where the French Gourmet heritage has always been a part of the hotel’s exceptional legacy.”
Darroze hails from a long line of chefs. Her great grandfather was a patissier and her great grandmother a cook. Her style of cuisine is based on the Landes region in the South-west of France, where she was raised. A protégé of Alain Ducasse, she launched her own restaurant in Paris in 1999, won her her first Michelin star in 2001 and her second in 2003.
By Amanda Afiya
E-mail your comments to Amanda Afiya here.