Just as their professional relationship was really starting to pay dividends at Gordo’s eponymous Chelsea flagship, news arrives that Clare Smyth is planning her first solo venture, with backing from her mentor. The new partnership will see Ramsay assist his former exec chef in finding a new location in London in which to set up her own independent restaurant.
Whatever your opinion of the sweary one might be, he has always promoted women in a profession that is usually pretty male-orientated, and Smyth has come to be respected in her own right as an outstanding chef. It is in large part thanks to her thoughtful menus and “amazing cuisine” that Royal Hospital Road has managed to claw its way back up the Sunday Times Top 100 UK Restaurant rankings (powered by Harden’s). This year saw still more improvement for its ratings across the board in our survey, the results of which will be published next month.
Let’s hope that head chef Matt Abe will be able to keep things on an even keel without Smyth’s input. Mind you, she will remain on at Ramsay’s group in a consultancy capacity until the launch of her solo project, scheduled to open in autumn next year.