Core is Clare Smyth’s first solo restaurant venture during a career in which she has worked with some of the world’s most respected chefs and restaurateurs. Her experience and credentials are vast, and the devotion and passion to her craft, along with uncompromising standards and a meticulous work ethic for which she is recognised, is why she remains the first and only female chef to have run a restaurant with three Michelin-stars in the UK. In October 2018, her hard work was rewarded with two Michelin stars for Core, in the 2019 Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland.
Born in Northern Ireland, Clare grew up on a farm in County Antrim. She moved to England aged 16 to learn the skills that would eventually make her a world-class chef. Having completed her studies she undertook numerous stages in some of the most celebrated kitchens in the world before returning to the UK in 2002 and joining Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Hospital Road.
Clare then left London in 2005 to work with Alain Ducasse at the three-star Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo and returned to London and the Ramsay Group in 2007 to take the position of Head Chef aged just 28. She became Chef Patron in 2012 and the following year, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the hospitality industry.
More success followed with The Good Food Guide awarding Clare their Chef of the Year Award 2013, as well as her team achieving a perfect 10/10 score in 2014, 2015 and 2016 – one of only three restaurants in the UK to achieve this score. In 2016, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Hospital Road was awarded five AA rosettes and Clare won the Cateys Chef of the Year Award 2016. Last year, the Michelin Guide for Great Britain & NI awarded her the Michelin Female Chef for 2017.
Following on from that success, 2018 saw Clare receive further accolades. In June 2018 at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards, she collected the award for the World’s Best Female Chef. Though the award itself is controversial, many believing it unnecessary to have a gendered prize, Clare said in her acceptance speech: “There is no right and wrong way to address this, but things won’t change if we do nothing.” Earlier that month, Core was named the fourth best restaurant in the UK in the National Restaurant Awards. At the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards, Core won Best New Restaurant of the Year. Then in October, with the release of the 2019 Michelin Guide – Core went straight in with two stars.
With her numerous awards and achievements, as well as TV appearances on MasterChef, Great British Menu, Saturday Kitchen, The One Show and The Late Show, Clare is one of the most recognised and accomplished chefs in the country.
Clare lives in Battersea with her sport loving husband, Grant, and their little West Highland Terrier (and Core team mascot) Storm.