Anyone who knows the family history of Helene Darozze might argue that she was destined to become a chef, considering that three generations of her family before her had ran a restaurant in Villeneuve-de-Marsan, France. Darozze didn’t immediately submit to fate though, as before deciding to pursue a career in professional kitchens, she actually obtained a degree in business.
Following her graduation in 1990, she took on an office based role in the Le Louis XV restaurant in Monaco, which was ran by fellow Frenchman and famous chef Alain Ducasse at the time. Noting her passion for food and previous experience working in her family’s restaurant, Ducasse encouraged Darroze to take on a role in his restaurant’s kitchen, which she did for the next three years.
After this, she returned to working at her family’s restaurant and helped it to maintain its existing Michelin star (the restaurant lost the accolade in 2010). In 2008, Helene Darroze was announced as the new chef at the five-star Connaught hotel in the luxury London neighbourhood of Mayfair, taking over from Angela Hartnett who had previously held the position.
In 2009, Helene Darroze at The Connaught opened its doors, the jewel in the crown of a £70 million refurbishment of the entire hotel. The restaurant was actually met with a mixed reception by some newspaper critics, but nonetheless went on to be awarded a Michelin star that year, just six months after opening. Later in 2011, it was upgraded to two Michelin star status.
In 2019, Helene Darroze at The Connaught underwent an extensive refurbishment to celebrate its tenth birthday, unveiling a softer and more feminine dining room that features a pink marble chef’s table. As well as her London restaurant, Darroze also operates two locations of Restaurant
Hélène Darroze, one in Paris and one in Moscow. The chef has two adopted daughters from Vietnam, Charlotte and Quiterie, and she splits her time between London and Paris so that she can attend to her restaurants.
Click here to read more about Helene Darroze in our Ayala SquareMeal Best Female Chefs Series.