Clare Smyth: From family farm to Michelin stars, chef shares her food memories

Two-Michelin-starred restaurant Core boss Clare Smyth grew up on a farm in Co Antrim
Two-Michelin-starred restaurant Core boss Clare Smyth grew up on a farm in Co Antrim

ANTRIM woman Clare Smyth owns and runs two-Michelin-starred London restaurant Core and is perhaps most known for being named Best Female Chef at the World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2018.

She has worked with Gordon Ramsay (she headed up his three-Michelin-star restaurant) and the Duchess of Sussex, whose wedding she did the private catering for.

Smyth also recently starred as a judge on global culinary Netflix competition, The Final Table.

We grilled her on her food memories...


"I grew up on a farm and we were cooking for the family and workers from a very young age. We were all given chores, whether that was washing potatoes or helping chop onions, that was very much a part of what we did."


"It changes all the time. Obviously, when I was 28, I took over a three-Michelin-starred restaurant and that was obviously something, to be the first woman to do that, that was great.

"But then I'd say, even when I left having held them for 10 years almost, you'd think, 'That was an achievement', and then now obviously Core is another thing.

"In our first year, we won 10/10 in the Good Food Guide, five rosettes and two Michelin stars – the highest rating of any restaurant that's ever opened. That's another highlight."


"I have messed stuff up when I was younger. When I used to make a mistake, I was so hard on myself – I wouldn't have spoken for a couple of days. I'd take it very, very seriously. I'd be very upset if I let myself down.

"I overcooked a risotto once at Le Louis XV [in Monte Carlo] while working for Alain Ducasse. That feeling: 'Why did I do that? I'm better than that, I shouldn't have' – and then really kicking yourself.

"It's simple things like that. But I've always been very proud of being a chef and what I can do, so if you let yourself down sometimes, making mistakes is tough but that's part of the learning, I guess."

:: The Final Table is available on Netflix now.