Search
The Caterer

Industry welcomes Gordon Ramsay's female head chef

06 December 2007 by
Industry welcomes Gordon Ramsay's female head chef

Leading chefs have welcomed the appointment of Clare Smyth as Gordon Ramsay's head chef at his eponymous three-Michelin-starred restaurant on London's Royal Hospital Road.

Smyth has replaced Simone Zanoni, who has left to oversee the opening of Ramsay's restaurant in Versailles, France, next year.

She will work under executive chef Mark Askew and becomes the first woman in the UK to head up a three-Michelin-starred kitchen.

Lisa Allen, head chef at Michelin-starred Northcote Manor in Langho, Lancashire, and a Caterer Acorn winner this year, said Smyth's appointment was good for the industry.

"This has the potential to inspire more girls to join the industry - and to spur on those of us already within it," she said.

"It can sometimes be hard for women to work their way up in the kitchen as it's often a very male-dominated environment. But this appointment shows that if you're a strong, hardworking person, anything is possible."

Eyck Zimmer, executive chef of the Lowry hotel in Manchester, said that, while the industry was still mainly male-dominated, there was no reason why women shouldn't run three-starred restaurants.

"If you have the talent it doesn't matter what sex you are and I would be more than happy to work under a female head chef," he said. "There are a lot of women out there who are incredibly talented chefs."

Simon Wright, chef-proprietor of Y Polyn in Nantgaredig, Carmarthenshire, welcomed Smyth's appointment, and added that it didn't surprise him.

"We have always known that women make great chefs. I have two women in my kitchen and it's a much calmer, less hysterical environment as a result," he said.

"One thing about Gordon Ramsay is that he has a track record of spotting great talent and I'm sure Smyth must be very good. It's his flagship restaurant and he wouldn't trust her with the job if he wasn't 100% sure she could do it."

Three-Michelin-starred female chefs

France

  • Anne Sophie Pic, Maison Pic, Valence

Spain

  • Elena Arzak, Arzak, Donostia-San Sebastian
  • Carmen Ruscalleda, Sant Pau, Sant Pol de Mar

Italy

  • Luisa Marelli Valazza, Al Sorriso, Soriso
  • Nadia Santini, Dal Pescatore, Canneto sull'Oglio
  • Annie Féolde, Enoteca Pinchiorri, Florence

Source: Michelin Group France

Read more on Gordon Ramsay here >>

Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse tied on 12 Michelin stars >>

Gordon Ramsay and Angela Hartnett say goodbye to the Connaught >>

By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.