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28 July 2014

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Welcome to my world

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Clare Smyth_welcome to my world - clare-smyth.jpgThe chef patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay shares her favourite spots in Chelsea, how she likes to relax, and extols the virtues of the humble spoon.

by Ami Kang

‘I worked in a local restaurant during my school holidays and really got into it, and I picked up lots of pointers from some good chefs who thought I had potential. I knew that was what I wanted to do when I was about 15. I was always very headstrong.’

Clare Smyth_welcome to my world_guide culinaire - le-guide-culinaire-29023l1.jpg‘The first book I bought when I started to take cooking seriously was Cuisine à la Carte by Anton Mosimann, about him working at the Dorchester. I started to think how amazing it would have been to be a chef there. I also buried my head in Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire (pictured, left).’

‘My favourite kitchen gadget is the spoon. Don’t get me wrong, we go to the ends of the earth to find and test equipment, but it always comes back to the simple things. My favourite shop is JB Prince in New York. It’s full of really cheffy stuff – you name it, they have it.’

‘I feel as if Royal Hospital Road is my restaurant. Gordon has backed me all this time and now I’m a partner in this business. I’ve spent a lot of time here and built up a really great team. I’m not going to just walk away from it to do something else. I think staying power and consistency are the qualities that make a great chef or restaurant.’

Clare Smyth_welcome to my world_o sheas - o-sheas.jpg‘O’Shea’s Butchers (pictured, right) in Knightsbridge is where I go every time I have a BBQ. Darragh O’Shea (the owner) feels the way about beef the way I feel about food. He is so passionate, knowledgeable and very humble.’

‘I love shopping at Partridge’s in Chelsea. It has got everything from all over the world. On Fulham Road, we’ve also got Luigi’s Deli and the French greengrocer Le Pascalou, which always has such lovely fruits and vegetables.’

Petrus - Petrus_3_lo_res.jpg‘My partner, Grant, and I eat out all the time. We often go to Pétrus (pictured, left) because it’s gorgeous and has interesting food. I think the whole ambience of a room, the way it looks, the intimacy and the service, adds to that special feeling you get when you go out.’

‘I do a bit of gardening to relax. I’ve always tried to grow things for the restaurant but now I want to do it on a much larger scale, so I’m putting in a mini greenhouse and growing little radishes, lettuce and herbs. It’s a lot of work but very rewarding.’

‘I very rarely cook at home. But if I do, I always do something very simple. My last supper would definitely be côte de boeuf and a good Bordeaux.’

This feature was published in the summer 2013 issue of Square Meal Lifestyle.

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