The mad scientist of haute cuisine, Heston Blumenthal experiments with food, textures and tastes as if he were in a laboratory. He is famous for combining unusual flavours: snail porridge anyone? And for using unconventional cooking techniques - his egg and bacon ice cream is made using a dry-ice machine. For years Londoners lamented the absence of a restaurant by Heston Blumenthal in the city. Instead, they were forced to travel to Berkshire, to the Fat Duck at Bray, to find out what all the excitement was about. But finally, in 2011, Heston came to London with his first restaurant for city folk, Dinner, at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel in Knightsbridge. Head chef Ashley Palmer-Watts is the one diners at Dinner will see in the kitchen but it's Heston's reputation that is at stake. It's very much 'Dinner by Heston Blumenthal'. Heston has been on hand to help devise the menu, inspired by historic British dishes, and there are the Blumenthal touches at every turn - your pork chop comes with 'pointy cabbage' and your ribs with 'mushroom ketchup'. Dinner is most definitely not the Fat Duck in the city, there are 'safe' options on the menu for a start. But with Heston's name above the door you can expect the unexpected.
Celebrity Chefs in London
Innovative chef's first London restaurant opened in 2011
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, Hyde Park, London, SW1X 7LA
'The Naked Chef' has over 10 restaurants in London
20 New Change Passage, City, London, EC4M 9AG
The 'Naked Chef', Jamie Oliver, has come a long way since rolling up on his Vespa in those early TV appearances. He has influenced government policies with his campaign for improved school dinners, set up several restaurants including Fifteen, Jamie's Italian, Recipease, Union Jacks and Barbecoa, and appeared on countless television programmes both in the UK and abroad. Whether escaping to Italy or taking a roadtrip around America, tackling the obesity issue or raising the profile of the struggling British pig farmer, Jamie has been busy, with TV cameras broadcasting his food revolution. More than a celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver is a brand and one with a social conscience. You only have to look at his 'Dream School' - helping youngsters get an education - to see that his influence goes beyond the kitchen. Combine all this with his cheeky sense of humour and infectious enthusiasm and you have arguably the most accessible celebrity chef in London.
Ramsay's Royal Hospital Road restaurant has earned him three Michelin stars
68 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HP
Tube: Sloane Square Station
From appearances on his hugely successful TV shows (Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, Hell's Kitchen, The F Word) Gordon Ramsay can, on first impression, come across as a hot headed chef with a foul mouth. That may be true but it hasn't stopped him becoming one of Britain's most successful restaurateurs. A hugely talented chef, Gordon earned three Michelin stars at the age of 34 with his restaurant, Gordon Ramsay, on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea which it still holds today making it London's longest running restaurant with this highly coveted accolade. Just around the corner on Chelsea's Royal Hospital Road is Foxtrot Oscar, his casual neighbourhood bistro serving bangers and mash to the well-heeled locals. Gordon may have been cut from Claridges, but some of London's most high profile restaurants still come under the Ramsay stable including Petrus, The Savoy Grill, maze and maze Grill and the York & Albany near Regents Park. Added to these are Brooklyn brasserie style restaurants Bread Street Kitchen in a new development next to St Paul's Cathedral, Union Street Cafe in SE1, and London House in Battersea. Ramsay is also responsible for Plane Food at Heathrow T5 and two pubs, The Narrow in Limehouse and The Warrington in Maida Vale. His autobiography, Humble Pie, reveals a heart-warming story of the council estate boy done good, leaving home at 16 to escape his violent father and, through grit and determination, becoming one of the UK's best known chefs.
Jason Atherton follows his Pollen Street Social and Social Eating House with City Social.
58-59 Poland Street, London, W1F 7NR
Jason Atherton, the well known chef who earned a Michelin star while at Gordon Ramsay's Maze then famously fell out with his former boss, has a clutch of top London restaurants to his name. After the Pollen Street Social opened in April 2011, earning him a Michelin star within months, he brought us The Social Eating House in April 2013 which was swiftly followed by Little Social. In the same year there followed Berners Tavern, the jewel in the £33 million The London Edition hotel and a "jaw-droppingly beautiful all-day diner" (Metro) described as "the most significant London opening of the year" if not the "defining restaurant of the decade". Showing no signs of slowing down, in 2014 Atherton opens City Social on the lofty site formerly occupied by Gary Rhodes' Rhodes 24, a dizzying twenty floors up in Tower 42 with breath-taking views over City landmarks The Gherkin and The Cheesegrater. It's all a long way from Skegness where Atherton grew up helping with meals at the family guesthouse and working as a donkey boy on the beach.
One of the most high-profile women in the restaurant world.
20 Queen Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5PP
Tube: Green Park Station
One of the top female chefs in the country, Angela Hartnett has enjoyed phenonmenal success in the past two decades or so emerging from the Gordon Ramsay stable to become the first woman ever to run the kitchen at The Connaught hotel in 2002. After five successful years at The Connaught, during which time she gained a Michelin star and an MBE for services to the industry, Angela left the hotel and opened Murano in Mayfair in August 2008, serving modern food with an Italian accent - a reflection of Angela's family roots. In this vein, one of her two cookbooks is titled 'Angela Hartnett's Cucina: Three Generations of Italian Family Cooking'. Five months after opening, Murano was awarded its first Michelin star and Angela became the sole owner of the fine-dining Mayfair restaurant in October 2010. Her more recent ventures have included Cafe Murano, whose head chef Sam Williams is also making a name for herself, and the inestimable Merchants Tavern over in Shoreditch, a collaboration between Angela, chef Neil Borthwick, and Canteen founders, Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone. She also oversees the menus at the Whitechapel Gallery and at the Limewood Hotel in Hampshire, and her numerous TV appearances have included slots on Hells' Kitchen, on Tonight with Trevor McDonald, the Great British Menu, and on Channel 4's The Taste.
Pioneered the 'nose to tail' food movement
26 St John Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 4AY
For dedicated meat lovers, Fergus Henderson is the man who championed a new food movement called 'nose to tail' eating. These confirmed carnivores make the pilgrimage to his St John Restaurant near Smithfield on a regular basis, savouring the succulent pigs trotters. Never has roast bone marrow looked so appetising. Using every part of the animal, Henderson takes what was previously discarded as off-cuts and serves it as the main course. In short, he has revolutionised the way we look at meat. Two years after their restaurant was awarded a long overdue Michelin star Fergus and his business partner Trevor Gulliver opened the St John Hotel just off Leicester Square, reviving what used to be the legendary Manzi's fish restaurant into a restaurant with rooms - giving diners somewhere to retire to after a long lunch. They also own the less formal St John Bread and Wine in Spitalfields Market and the St John Bakery which can be found under the railway arches in Bermondsey. But if you want to sample a fresh-from-the-oven loaf you'll have to get there early - they only stay open until the bread runs out.
London restaurant is one of a number of casual dining, high street brasseries
60 Threadneedle Street, City, London, EC2R 8HP
The lord of Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, French chef Raymond Blanc proves you don't have to be a hot headed prima donna to succeed as a celebrity chef. The Michelin starred chef is more likely to offer gentle words of encouragement to his protégés than lambasting them. At his Oxfordshire retreat, the restaurant features seasonal food sourced from the organic gardens surrounding the manor house. If you like what you taste you can sign up for the cookery school on site. Or you can teach yourself with a little help from one of Raymond's numerous cookery books; the latest - Kitchen Secrets - ties in with his popular BBC series of the same name. Whether choosing the winners of The Restaurant - 'The Apprentice' with food - or showing us how service should be done, Raymond comes across as a loveable perfectionist with a warm personality that has won him legion fans. In London, his restaurant Brasserie Blanc is one of a chain of high street brasseries dedicated to casual dining; "if the Manoir is a delicate waltz then the Brasseries are the Can Can" so says Monsieur Blanc.
Three restaurants encompassing two Michelin stars from the youngest of the Roux restaurant dynasty
43 Upper Brook Street, Marble Arch, , Mayfair, London, W1K 7QR
Tube: Marble Arch Station
Coming from the Roux dynasty, Michel Roux Jr was, quite literally, born into the restaurant business. With the Roux name comes the clutch of Michelin stars - Le Gavroche became the first UK restaurant to hold three Michelin stars in 1982 - and the reputation of a family credited with popularising French cuisine in Britain. Albert and Michel Roux (senior), collectively known as the Roux brothers, set up a Roux empire including La Gavroche, which Albert's son Michel Jnr now runs, and the Waterside Inn at Bray, run by Michel's son, Alain. And so a new generation of Roux cousins continue the pursuit of perfection that the Roux brothers began back in the 1950s.Michel Jr is the most 'visible' of the Roux family of chefs today with numerous cookery books and a high profile TV presence including appearances on BBC programmes Masterchef: The Professionals and his own Michel Roux's Service, highlighting the role of the front-of-house staff. His London restaurants include Le Gavroche (now with two Michelin stars), Roux at Parliament Square and Roux at The Landau.
Awarded a Michelin star at just 26 years old
27 Cale Street, Chelsea Green, Chelsea, London, SW3 3QP
Tube: South Kensington Station
Tom Aikens Restaurant on Elystan Street closed at the end of January 2014 but 'Teflon Tom' - so named for his ability to endure the toughest of times - is looking to relocate his flagship restaurant to a more central London location later in the year. Watch this space. In the meantime his Tom's Kitchen restaurants - of which there are three in London - are still going strong. Tom was a mere 26 years old when the Michelin men first awarded him a star in 1996 when he was (a very young) head chef of Pied à Terre. He subsequently set up his own Tom Aikens restaurant in 2003 which was duly awarded the Michelin star of approval just a year after it opened. But his Tom's Kitchen restaurants are an altogether less formal, less fussy affair. The menu at Tom's Kitchen restaurants in Chelsea (a favourite with Wills and Kate), Canary Wharf and Somerset House favours bistro style food from a full English breakfast to steak and chips, served until 11pm. It's traditional French fare like chicken liver parfait and apple and calvados tart served alongside favourite British staples like fish pie, macaroni cheese with a grating of truffles, and sticky toffee pudding.
First Indian chef to gain a Michelin star
12A Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, , Mayfair, Mayfair, London, W1J 6BS
Tube: Green Park Station
The first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star, Atul Kochhar has lent his culinary expertise to London eating institutions such as Tamarind and then Benares, the world renowned restaurant that he owns today. He started his cooking career at The Oberoi group of hotels in India in the early nineties and worked his way up through the five star ranks before opening Tamarind in London in 1994. He received his first Michelin star in 2001 and, by this point, he had also released several successful recipe books including 'Indian Essence' and 'Fish, Indian Style'. His third book 'Curries of the World' is due for release in 2012. Kochhar also has hugely successful restaurants in Dublin and Hampshire. He has appeared on several television series, most recently the second series of Masterchef Goes large and the first three series of BBC2's Great British Menu. He is a regular culinary shows such as Saturday Kitchen, Food Poker and Saturday Cooks and even had his own programme - 'Atul's World of Spice' was on the Good Food Channel in 2010. During his time on Great British Menu, he beat renowned chef Gary Rhodes to the South East nomination. In March 2010, he received the TMG Cordon Bleu Award at Benares in recognition of his services to bringing South Asian cuisine to the forefront of the British culinary scene.
Raymond Blanc protege Ollie Dabbous cut his teeth at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.
39 Whitfield Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 2SF
"He's London's hottest ticket, but until a few months ago no one had heard of him," Jay Rayner wrote of Ollie Dabbous in The Guardian back in 2012, the year the 30-something year old chef met Dave at Downing Street, opened his first solo restaurant, Dabbous, (pronounced Da-boo) which promptly won "best kitchen" at the Tatler restaurant awards. From a complete unknown, "this gently spoken, lissom, slightly intense chef" (The Guardian) wowed the critics with his first solo venture, described as "a game changer" by Fay Maschler, the veteran critic of the London Evening Standard . But those in the know did know all about Ollie Dabbous, the chef had spent four years at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and went from there to Agnar Sverisson's Michelin-starred Texture on Portman Square, where he rose to the position of head chef. He had also done stints in the kitchens of The Fat Duck, Pierre Gagnaire, Hibiscus, wd~50 in New York, Murgaritz in San Sebastian and Noma in Copenhagen. For Dabbous, Ollie teamed up with his friend Oskar Kinberg, formerly master mixologist and manager at The Cuckoo Club, creating "a more modern and informal alternative to many of London's fine-dining restaurants," Dabbous said. With the pair due to open their second restaurant, Barnyard, in 2014, Ollie Dabbous is a young chef with a bright future - oh and if you've ever had to wait months for a table Dabbous, the good news is that Barnyard will be walk-ins only.
Portuguese chef leaves Viajante to become executive chef at André Balazs' new venture.
Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PU
Tube: Baker Street Station
Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes hit the headlines when he left his Michelin-starred Viajante restaurant at Bethnal Green's Town Hall Hotel to head up the kitchen at Marylebone's Chiltern Firehouse in 2014, the first hotel outside the States set up by legendary American hotelier Andre Balazs. Originally from Lisbon, this sought-after chef trained at the California Culinary Academy and subsequently under Wolfgang Puck, Rocco di Spirito and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Having worked around the world - including a stint at fabled El Bulli - and travelling extensively through Asia, Nuno landed in London where he became chef at the avant-garde Bacchus, and later founded the Loft Project, a supper club where up-and-coming chefs from around the world take up residence and showcase their cooking to a small group of diners. At his latest restaurant you'll sample dishes with an American slant - inspired by the 16 years Nuno spent training and working in the States with chefs like Wolfgang Puck, the man behind London's CUT at 45 Park Lane - and expect to see more from The Loft Project with plans to re-launch in mid-2014.
Britain's first female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars.
68 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HP
Tube: Sloane Square Station
At the age of 29, Clare Smyth became the first woman in Britain to run a three Michelin starred kitchen when she was chosen by Gordon Ramsay to take over the reins of his Chelsea flagship, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, in 2008. Five years later, in 2013, the restaurant was completely revamped and Clare Smyth MBE became a partner with Ramsay in the famous Royal Hospital Road restaurant where her signature dish - the pressed foie gras with peppered Madeira jelly, smoked duck, peach and almond crumble - and unsurpassed modern French cuisine are served in an elegant dining room. The Northern Irish chef discovered her vocation early on, moving to England at the age of 16 to train as a chef. After a first stint at Gordon Ramsay's in her early 20s, between 2002 and 2005, she went to work at the Louis XV, Alain Ducasse's famous three-starred restaurant in Monaco, before returning to London as head chef for Gordon.
French chef behind The Connaught's two Michelin-starred restaurant.
The Connaught, 16 Carlos Place, Mayfair, , Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL
Tube: Bond Street Station
When The Connaught restaurant reopened in 2008 following a major refurbishment it was with French chef Helene Darroze at the helm. Heading up one of London's most formal hotel dining rooms immediately marked her out as one of the best chefs in Britain. Born 23rd February 1967, in Mont-de-Marsan, south-west France, Darroze is the fourth generation of a family of chefs. She started out as Alain Ducasse's right hand woman at the Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo before being given the keys to the kitchen of the family-run Relais & Chateaux in Villeneuve-de-Marsan. She went on to set up and subsequently win two Michelin stars at her own restaurant on the Left Bank in Paris. From there she opened her second eponymous restaurant, this time in London at The Connaught. Three years later her London restaurant, where the food is best described as 'haute rustique', was awarded its second star.
TV chef's first London eatery opened in 1981
10B Kew Green, London, TW9 3BH
Tube: Kew Gardens Station
A prominent presence on cookery programmes since the 1990s, Antony Worrall Thompson's CV includes such legendary London eateries as Menage a Trois (famed for only serving starters and puddings), Drones in Belgravia and Woz - which was "like coming to a dinner party". In between appearances on TV shows like Ready Steady Cook, Saturday Kitchen and MasterChef, Worrall Thompson has written numerous books as well as maintaining a long running recipe column for The Sunday Express. After hitting a rocky patch in 2009, Antony is back on our screens and back on the restaurant scene. Of his three restaurants, only one, Kew Grill, is in London and it's the place to go if you want retro grill style cuisine using quality, locally sourced ingredients.
17th March 2014
IN THIS ARTICLE
Michel Roux Jr
Antony Worrall Thompson
A Traditional London Picnic
Best London Cafés
Restaurants for Kids in London
Celebrity Chefs in London
Best Gastropubs in London
Best Sunday Lunch in London
Top London Restaurants
London's Al Fresco Food Spots
LondonTown's Favourite Restaurants
London's Most Romantic Restaurants
London's Best British Restaurants
- A Traditional London Picnic
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