39 top UK female chefs – in association with Champagne Ayala

We've gathered the country's best female chefs to celebrate International Women's Day and beyond

Updated on • Written By Pete Dreyer

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Like a person’s race or religion, a chef’s gender shouldn’t even feature as a descriptor, but sadly there are still far more male than female chefs in kitchens across the UK today and still fewer who are at the helm. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that in 2017 only 17% of chef positions in the UK were held by women. While figures might have changed slightly since then, it’s unlikely the number has risen much due to the challenges associated with this traditionally macho career.

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The most obvious reason for the discrepancy in kitchens is the same as in many other male-dominated industries: the issue of maternity and childcare commitments. Many of the female chefs we interviewed as part of our Ayala SquareMeal Best Female Chefs Series mentioned that more could be done to help women balance a career in hospitality with having children – something that the long and unsociable hours don’t tend to allow for.

That said, with more and more female chefs reaching the top of their game, things are improving slowly. Three Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze told us that for the past few years she has, for the first time, received more job applications from women than men, though she tries to maintain a gender balance in her brigade. Top British chef Angela Hartnett echoes that same sentiment about the balance of men and women in her kitchen, saying she cares more about nurturing talent than exercising some sort of female prerogative.

But having an article focused on female chefs or awards specifically for female chefs isn’t about female prerogative or tokenism; it’s about evening out the scales. Darroze summed it up nicely when she said, 'female chefs are still a minority and, like all minorities, it’s important to be visible'.

So with that in mind we’re profiling our favourite female chefs who are smashing it in the male-dominated restaurant world, and blazing a trail for young chefs to follow in the industry. 


Champagne Ayala: Celebrating over 160 years of history, Champagne Ayala was one of the original twenty-six Grandes Marques Champagne Houses, received a Royal Warrant in 1908, and became a part of the Bollinger family in 2005. With its longstanding commitment to the restaurant industry, Champagne Ayala is known for its fresh and elegant wines, made with precision and delicacy, and crafted in a boutique scale. Ayala’s well-balanced Chardonnay-focused blends and low dosage make it a terrific epicurean pairing. No wonder the wines have been served in the UK for over 100 years in many of London’s most prestigious establishments.


Roberta Hall-McCarron

Who is she? Tom Kitchin alumnus Roberta Hall-McCarron rose quickly through the ranks at The Kitchin in Edinburgh before striking out on her own with phenomenal success. Edinburgh is a very competitive food scene, but Roberta's debut restaurant The Little Chartroom became an instant hit, and she added a second restaurant, Eleanore, to the portfolio in early 2022, all after crushing the competition in the 2021 series of Great British Menu. It's no wonder, then, that she won the AYALA SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year Award in 2023. Read more about Roberta in our interview with Roberta Hall-McCarron
What should I order? Go for classic cooking with Scottish flair - rump of beef with haggis scotch pie and ox tongue salad sounds perfect.
Where can I find her? The Little Chartroom, 14 Bonnington Road, Edinburgh; Eleanore, 30-31 Albert Place, Edinburgh

Lisa Goodwin-Allen

Lisa Goodwin-Allen

Who is she? Lisa is a genuine industry trailblazer among female chefs - she spent her youth travelling up and down the country just to stage in kitchens, and became head chef at Northcote at just 21 years old. She inherited a kitchen that had already established itself as one of the best in the UK under Nigel Haworth, but Lisa has taken Northcote to new heights, putting it right at the forefront of modern British cooking and inspiring a generation of young chefs. Lisa also runs Northcote's Obsession food festival, and has made it one of the most relevant events of its kind in the world. Read more about Lisa in our interview with Lisa Goodwin-Allen
What should I order? Go for classic cooking and luxury ingredients, like roasted veal sweetbread with white mushroom, tarragon and capers.
Where can I find her? Northcote, Northcote Road, Blackburn; The Game Bird at The Stafford Hotel, 16-18 St James’s Place, London

Chantelle Nicholson

Chantelle Nicholson

Who is she? New Zealand-born Chantelle Nicholson arrived in the UK via Gordon Ramsay's Chef Search programme, and quickly established herself as a lynchpin of his operation at The Savoy. She then joined Marcus Wareing at his eponymous restaurant Marcus, and soon became his head of operations, helping to manage his restaurant and launch his cookbooks, before taking over The Gilbert Scott on his behalf. Now having struck out on her own, Nicholson is chef-patron of Apricity in Mayfair, where she combines genuine sustainable credentials with her faultless cooking. Read more in our interview with Chantelle Nicholson.
What should I order? The signature chouxnut (half eclair, half doughnut), dusted liberally in cinnamon sugar.
Where can I find her? Apricity, 68 Duke Street, London

Sally Abe

Sally Abe

Who is she? An acolyte of Phil Howard (Elystan Street) and Brett Graham (The Ledbury), Abe held a Michelin star at the Harwood Arms for many years before moving to fresh pastures, with multiple openings at the Conrad London St. James hotel. Her debut restaurant, The Pem, has been phenomenally well received, as has the more relaxed Blue Boar Pub. Check out our interview with Sally Abe, where she talks about getting started in the industry, her inspirations and favourite dishes.
What should I order? The Black Forest gateau at The Pem - Sally's favourite dessert and soon to be yours too.
Where can I find her? The Pem, 22-28 Broadway, London; The Blue Boar Pub, 46 Tothill Street, London

Julie Lin

Julie Lin

Who is she? Scottish-Malaysian chef Julie Lin first came to our screens as a contestant on MasterChef, but she has since becoming a driving force in Glasgow's exciting culinary scene with her restaurant Gaga Glasgow. Julie's Kopitiam was her original restaurant - a tiny, charming eatery serving authentic Malaysian cooking which closed its doors in 2023, whilst Gaga is a little more modern, mixing up south east Asian small plates and cocktails. 
What should I order? Julie's nasi goreng and mee goreng are must-orders when on the menu.
Where can I find her? Gaga Glasgow, 566 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow

Nieves Barrágan Mohacho

Nieves Barrágan Mohacho

Who is she? For nine years she was executive chef at Barrafina (and the woman responsible for its Michelin star), but since 2018 Barrágan Mohaco has been at the helm of her first solo restaurant, Sabor, just off Regent Street. Thanks to her, queues outside the four Barrafinas are still a nightly event and they're a regular occurance at Sabor too. Read our full interview with Nieves Barrágan Mohacho for more about what motivated her to open one of London’s best restaurants and stay tuned for news of a second Sabor restaurant rumoured to be coming to Soho soon.
What should I order? Barrafina has always been famous for the best croquetas in London; some reckon that Sabor’s prawn and piquillo versions are even better.
Where can I find her? Sabor: The Counter, 35 Heddon Street, London

Adejoké Bakare

adejoke bakare chishuru

Who is she? Affectionately known as ‘Joké’ to family and friends, Bakare’s debut restaurant Chishuru is one of a clutch of sites shining a much-needed light on West African cuisine. A home cook who originally found success with her dinner parties and supper clubs, Bakare went on to win in the amateur category at 2019’s Brixton Kitchen competition, which allowed her to open Chishuru in August of 2020 (in the midst of a pandemic, no less). The original Chishuru site was a smash hit, and in 2023 she relocated to a larger new site in Fitzrovia, winning a Michelin star in 2024 and becoming the first black woman to ever win the award.
What should I order? No need to choose, just order the tasting menu for one of London's most unique, delicious experiences.
Where can I find her? Chishuru, 3 Great Titchfield Street, London

Stosie Madi

stosie madi portrait

Who is she? Stosie was born in Senegal and then raised in The Gambia, where she lived for years until she was forced to escape the country’s worsening political situation. When she and her daughter left they settled in rural Lancashire, and Stosie took over the kitchen at little-known local pub The Parker’s Arms in Newton-in-Bowland, cooking British comfort food and iconic handmade pies, with twists of her own Lebanese background.
Born in Senegal, raised in The Gambia, of Lebanese heritage and incredibly well-travelled, the fact that Stosie decided to settle down in Clitheroe of all places is a story in itself.
What should I order? It has to be one of Stosie’s iconic hand-raised pies.
Where can I find her? The Parker’s Arms, Hallgate Hill, Lancashire

Cynthia Shanmugalingam

cynthia cooking at rambutan

Who is she? Rambutan was one of the standout restaurant openings of 2023, and all the more impressive given Cynthia’s long journey to finally opening the restaurant. Born into a Sri Lankan Tamil family in Coventry, Cynthia absorbed family recipes and set out to create her own restaurant from scratch. After years of searching for the right site and battling through COVID lockdowns, Rambutan opened to massive aplomb in 2023.
What should I order? Cynthia’s gundu dosa with coriander sambol
Where can I find her? Rambutan, 10 Stoney Street, London

Sarah Hayward

sarah hayward at the coach marlow

Who is she? Head chef of The Coach in Marlow, Sarah Hayward has worked with Tom Kerridge for some years to make this gastropub one of the best in the country. A bevy of awards have followed, including Sarah winning the Michelin Guide’s Young Chef of the Year Award in 2023.
What should I order? We’d go with the rotisserie of the day!
Where can I find her? The Coach, 3 West Street, Buckinghamshire

Ana Ortiz

ana cooking over an asado grill

Who is she? Ana grew up on the Galapagos Islands, in a family of food-obsessives. Family gatherings would centre around a huge asado grill, where fish, meat and vegetables would all sit over roaring flames. Since moving to the UK, Ana has brought asado cooking with her and she and husband Tom have settled in Somerset, building grills for the likes of Paul Ainsworth and Tomos Parry, whilst Ana cooks at various pop-ups and events.
What should I order? Anything off Ana’s wood-fired asado grill.
Where can I find her? Ana is based in Somerset but regularly appears via pop-ups around the UK!

Sabrina Gidda

sabrina with her cookbook

Who is she? A storied career in some of London’s best restaurants is just part of Sabrina’s story - she has also worked as a food consultant for huge brands, published a cookbook, and competed at the highest level in competitions like the Roux Scholarship and Great British Menu. Read more about Sabrina in our full interview
What should I order? Sabrina’s Masala Bouillabaisse is a must-order if it’s on the menu.
Where can I find her? Sabrina often pops up at guest chef nights, and she’s also Culinary Director for BAM Karaoke Box.

Pam Brunton

pam brunton at inver

Who is she? Born and raised just outside Dundee, Pam’s food journey led her to Le Moulin de L’Abbaye in Brantôme in the Dordogne, Faviken in Sweden, Noma in Copenhagen and De Wulf in Belgium before she and partner Rob returned to Scotland to open Inver on the shores of Loch Fyne. The remote restaurant getaway has since become one of the finest restaurants in the country, serving seafood straight out of the loch with clean, Scandi technique.
What should I order? We’d go tasting menu for treats like bread and butter broth.
Where can I find her? Inver, Strathlachlan, Argyll & Bute, Scotland

Adriana Cavita

Who is she? Adriana grew up surrounded by food in Mexico City - her grandma used to sell tamales from her house, and her grandfather lived on a farm just outside the city. Destined for chefdom, Adriana worked at the likes of El Bulli and Pujol before finally arriving in London and opening debut solo restaurant Cavita in 2022.
What should I order? Charcoal grilled whole chicken with mole verde to share.
Where can I find her? Cavita, 60 Wigmore Street, London

Erchen Chang

Erchen Chang

Who is she? Anyone who has ever bit into a pillowy-soft Taiwanese bun has Chang to thank for turning the Taiwanese delicacy mainstream with BAO, the market stall-turned-restaurant empire. Outposts in Soho, Borough, King's Cross, Shoreditch, Marylebone and Battersea have followed, and combined with Chang's unique artwork and some karaoke thrown into the bargain, BAO has emerged as one of London's most recognisable and reliable restaurant brands.
What should I order? The ‘classic’ bao, an umami explosion of peanut and slow-braised pork belly.
Where can I find her? BAO Borough, 13 Stoney Street, London; BAO Soho, 53 Lexington Street, London; BAO King's Cross, 4 Pancras Square, London; BAO Noodle Shop, 65-66 Shoreditch High Street, London; BAO Marylebone, 56 James Street, London; BAO Battersea, Battersea Power Station, London

Hélène Darroze

Hélène Darroze

Who is she? The recipient of the 2015 World’s Best Female Chef award (among numerous other awards and accolades) and chef-patron of the recently-refurbished three Michelin-starred restaurant at The Connaught Hotel. Darroze comes from three generations of chefs, but training with Alain Ducasse cemented her fine-dining credentials. She was also the inspiration for Collette in Pixar’s Ratatouille and now exists in Barbie doll-form. For more on her 30-year career, read SquareMeal’s full interview with Hélène Darroze.
What should I order? Scallop with tandoori, carrot, citrus and coriander is a signature dish – as is a glass of Darroze Armagnac.
Where can I find her? Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Carlos Place, London

Monica Galetti

Monica Galetti

Who is she? The chef-patron of Mere is one of the best known female chefs on TV thanks to her role as a judge on Masterchef: The Professionals. It’s the kind of fame that guarantees full houses for her first solo restaurant, though it’s certainly not just Galetti’s famous face that draws the crowds – the former senior sous chef of Le Gavroche is just as much of a star in the kitchen as she is on the telly. To learn more about Galetti’s success as one of London’s top female chefs, read the full interview she gave as part of our Best Female Chefs Series.
What should I order? The six-course tasting menu gives a taste of everything this masterchef has to offer.  
Where can I find her? Mere, 74 Charlotte Street, London

Lorna McNee

Lorna McNee

Who is she? Scottish chef Lorna McNee spent more than a decade at the legendary Restaurant Andrew Fairlie (where she had worked her way up the ranks to sous chef), before departing in 2020 to relaunch the kitchen at popular Glasgow brasserie Cail Bruich. The gamble paid off, with Cail Bruich being awarded one Michelin star in the 2021 guide, the first restaurant in the city to do so in 18 years and an accolade McNee has retained since.
What should I order? The food offering changes with the seasons, but opt for the chef’s tasting menu for the full experience
Where can I find her? Cail Bruich, 725 Great Western Road, Glasgow

Harriet Mansell

Harriet Mansell female chef

Who is she? Starting her career travelling the world as a private chef on yachts, Harriet Mansell returned to the South West of England to open her debut restaurant, Robin Wylde. Harriet spent her childhood foraging whilst being exposed to wild ingredients at school, which has led to a menu hugely influenced by this growing passion. A second, more relaxed restaurant - Lilac - followed, and has featured in SquareMeal's Top 100 Restaurants UK list for two years running, continuing a similar theme using ingredients that can be found in the local countryside, as dishes change with the seasons.
What should I order? Lilac’s a la carte provides a great choice - save room for pudding and try the bay leaf affogato.
Where can I find her? Lilac, 57-58 Broad Street, Lyme Regis

Skye Gyngell

Skye Gyngell

Who is she? The chef-patron of Spring and winner of 2019’s AYALA SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year award, this Aussie chef and food writer made the national news in 2012 when she resigned from Petersham Nurseries and described winning a Michelin Star as a ‘curse’. These days she is better known for her commitment to sustainability and her disarmingly simple cooking that champions impeccably sourced British ingredients. To learn more about the ways in which this lauded female chef is blazing a trail for the industry to become more sustainable, and to learn what she means by “organics with voodoo”, read our full interview with Skye Gyngell.
What should I order? Sea bass carpaccio with blood orange, crème fraiche and rhubarb typifies Gyngell’s mix of seasonal Mediterranean and British flavours.
Where can I find her? Spring, Somerset House, London

Alex Hely-Hutchinson

Alex Hely-Hutchinson

Who is she? Alex Hely-Hutchinson has taken 26 Grains from a modest Old Street pop-up to a Neal’s Yard standout in the space of a few years, and all while still being in her early-to-mid thirties. The team recently closed casual Med-inspired eatery Stoney St. but Hely-Hutchinson still finds time to pen cookbooks on top of managing everything else. We’re expecting big things for her next move.
What should I order? You can’t go wrong with the five grains porridge with blood orange curd.
Where can I find her? 26 Grains, 1 Neal's Yard, London

Ruth Hansom

Who is she? The first female winner of the Young National Chef of the Year Award in 2017, Ruth Hansom's career has been on a steep upward trajectory ever since. She spent five years at The Ritz progressing from commis to chef de partie, and helped to put The Princess of Shoreditch on the map before finally taking the plunge with her own restaurant, Hansom in North Yorkshire, at the tail end of 2023. We're expecting big things once again.
What should I order? The tasting menu - you're in good hands with Hansom's sophisticated cooking, which champions great Yorkshire producers.
Where can I find her? Hansom Restaurant, Bedale, Yorkshire

Ifeyinwa Frederick

Ifeyinwa Frederick

Who is she? Londoners are used to new restaurants claiming to be the first of their kind, but we challenge you to find another Nigerian tapas bar in the capital. The brains behind this hyper-original concept? That would be Ifeyinwa Frederick, who opened Chuku’s alongside her brother Emeka (pictured above), after the pair tired of not seeing good enough representation of Nigerian food on the capital’s restaurant scene. So far, Chuku’s has received rave reviews from the likes of restaurant critics Grace Dent and Jimi Famurewa, and Beyonce, who donated £8000 to the pair during the UK leg of her 2023 tour.
What should I order? The Chin Chin cheesecake (boasting flavours of orange and stem ginger) is a must order.
Where can I find her? Chuku’s, 274 High Road, London

Angela Hartnett

Angela Hartnett

Who is she? Trailblazing Angela Hartnett first won fame as the breakout star of Hell’s Kitchen with her then boss Gordon Ramsay. Inspired by the cooking of her Italian grandmother – and now as much of a restaurateur as a chef – she has Michelin-starred Murano and three Café Muranos in St James’s, Covent Garden and Bermondsey to her name. In 2018, Hartnett won our first Ayala SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year award, and these days she's even more of a household name thanks to her hit podcast Dish with DJ Nick Grimshaw. 
What should I order? Hartnett’s pasta is sublime; try the pumpkin tortelli with sage and pine nut at Café Murano.
Where can I find her? Murano, 20 Queen Street, London; Café Murano Covent Garden, 36 Tavistock Street, London; Café Murano St James’s, 33 St James’s Street, London; Café Murano Bermondsey, 184 Bermondsey Street, London

Anna Tobias

Anna Tobias
Photography: Photography: Sam A. Harris

Who is she? A protégée of some of London’s greatest chefs – Margot Henderson of Rochelle Canteen, Ruth Rogers of The River Café and Jeremy Lee of Quo Vadis – Anna Tobias has inherited a similar simple cooking style to her mentors, where focus is more on high quality ingredients than fussy plating. This shines through at her latest venture which is run with the 40 Maltby Street team. Anna champions a purist technique, which is always welcomed in a time where food trends can easily lose sight of what really matters - quality and flavour.
What should I order? Pork Chop with cavolo nero and anchoïade has our vote.
Where can I find her? Café Deco43 Store Street, London

Anna Haugh

Anna Haugh

Who is she? The female chef once at the helm of some of London’s most well-known kitchens, including London House and Bob Bob Ricard, Dublin-born Haugh now heads up her own restaurant. Her menus at Myrtle use as much Irish produce as possible, and she's an effortless TV presence too, featuring as a judge on Masterchef: The Professionals, as well as guest hosting Saturday Kitchen and appearing as one of the chefs on the BBC's rebooted Ready, Steady, Cook.
What should I order? Haugh’s roasted beef fillet with boxty is sublime.
Where can I find her? Myrtle, 1A Langton Street, London

Margot Henderson

Margot Henderson

Who is she? Kiwi-born Margot (wife of Fergus Henderson of St. John fame) heads up the Rochelle Canteen in Shoreditch. The restaurant serves stripped-back, unfussy food that pleases all the senses, and has a reputation, like St John, for nurturing talented chefs. She specialises in catering and cook-book writing, too and has been claimed by many to be a genius of hospitality – we agree.
What should I order? The menus change regularly, but her grilled lamb with green sauce is a must.
Where can I find her? Rochelle Canteen, 16 Playground Gardens, London

Ravinder Bhogal

Ravinder Bhogal

Who is she? Charmingly dubbed ‘the new Fanny Craddock’ by Gordon Ramsay on The F Word, Bhogal hasn’t let that backhanded compliment stop her launching award-winning cookbooks, TV shows and supper clubs. Jikoni, her first restaurant, is her crowning glory, a unique combination of cosy kitsch and cracking cooking. Check out our interview with Ravinder Bhogal for more on her journey.
What should I order? One of the three signature Scotch eggs; the prawn toast version with banana ketchup and pickled cucumber gets our vote.
Where can I find her? Jikoni, 19-21 Blandford Street, London

Marguerite Keogh

Marguerite Keogh

Who is she? Yet another Marcus Wareing alumnus, Irish-born Keogh worked at Pétrus and then Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley before teaming up with chef-patron Taylor Bonnyman to open The Five Fields in Chelsea in 2013, which has retained a Michelin star to this day.
What should I order? Foie gras with beetroot, rainbow carrots and pickled shimeji mushrooms.
Where can I find her? The Five Fields and The Roque Room at Five Fields, 8-9 Blacklands Terrace, London

Asma Khan

Asma Khan

Who is she? Khan is the chef and owner of Darjeeling Express in Covent Garden and also the first British chef to feature on Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Her relaxed, comforting restaurant provides a showcase for her blend of north Indian and Bengali cooking.
What should I order? Khan's Tangra chilli and garlic prawns are zapped with a tongue-popping five-spice blend and are an absolute must-try.
Where can I find her? Darjeeling Express, 2.4 Kingly Court, London

Anne-Sophie Pic

Anne-Sophie Pic

Who is she? The grand dame of French cuisine, Anne-Sophie has an impressive eight Michelin stars across her five restaurants, including the two-star London-based La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square.  
What should I order? Her signature berlingots (pasta parcels of goats’ cheese and mascarpone) and a fantastically constructed millefeuille dessert.
Where can I find her? La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square, London

Ruth Rogers

Ruth Rogers

Who is she? Ask most chefs where they like to eat on their time off and many will say The River Café. Of course, it helps that many of them learned to cook at Ruth Rogers’ legendary Hammersmith restaurant, which first opened its doors in 1987. Critics might complain that it is legendary because of its prices, but you’re paying for the best ingredients Rogers can get her hands on.
What should I order? The lemon tart is the sort of simple classic that is impossible to reproduce at home.
Where can I find her? The River Café, Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London

Clare Smyth

Clare Smyth

Who is she? The only British woman to win three Michelin stars during her 11 years as head chef and then chef-patron of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Smyth opened her first solo restaurant, Core, in summer 2017. Since then, she's been awarded three Michelin stars and won every award under the sun, including SquareMeal's Restaurant of the Year title in 2018. Tasting menus of British ingredients are the focus, with an emphasis on making vegetables as important as meat and fish.
What should I order? Carrot braised in lamb stock confounds expectations of just how good our homegrown veg can taste.
Where can I find her? Core by Clare Smyth, 92 Kensington Park Road, London

Abby Lee

Abby Lee

Who is she? Born in Singapore to Malaysian parents, Abby Lee grew up watching her family cook classic Malaysian dishes and developed a love for food. After moving to London in 2015, Abby’s passion for cooking grew whilst at uni, and in 2017 she gained a diploma at Le Cordon Bleu. Solo restaurant Mambow grew from pop-up to a bona fide Peckham sensation, and in 2023 it moved to new digs in Clapton, cementing Abby's place as one of London's most exciting young chefs.
What should I order? We recommend the Sarawak Laksa, the perfectly spiced laksa broth is served with rice vermicelli noodles, shredded chicken, prawns and an egg roll.
Where can I find her? Mambow, 78 Lower Clapton Road, London

Kim Ratcharoen

Who is she? Meriting her love of cooking to her grandma, Kim Ratcharoen moved to the UK from native Thailand to follow her passion. Starting her fine dining career at 64 Degrees with Michael Bremner, Kim then applied to a one-month apprenticeship at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in 2015 - eight years later, she became head chef of the storied restaurant, working directly underneath executive chef Matt Abe. A starmaking appearance on Great British Menu sealed the deal for Ratcharoen as one of the most exciting chefs in the country right now.
What should I order? Restaurant Gordon Ramsay offers set menus or a la carte, but if you’re looking to splash out, we’d recommend ‘Carte Blanche’ where an entirely bespoke menu is created for your table.
Where can I find her? Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, 68 Royal Hospital Road, London

Nina Matsunaga

nina matsunaga at the black bull

Who is she? Being born in Germany to Japanese parents, Nina Matsunaga’s upbringing can be seen throughout her dishes with Asian and occasionally German flavours influencing her food. Her career has seen her moving between Germany, London and Manchester before finally residing near the Lake District where she now runs The Black Bull, alongside husband James Ratcliffe. The menu focuses on seasonal, local produce, combining both Nina and James’ heritage.
What should I order? The Cornish Monkfish with chicken wing, crab and sugar snap peas gets our vote here.
Where can I find her? The Black Bull, 44 Main Street, Cumbria

Minal Patel

Minal Patel

Who is she?
Born in Gujarat, Minal Patel’s life has always focused around cooking, from role playing as a head chef with friends, to working for her family’s business in the kitchen at a traditional Mithai shop. Now head chef at Prashad in Yorkshire, Minal is championing Gujarati cuisine in this family run restaurant, that is the only two-star AA and Michelin Bib Gourmand Indian restaurant in the county.
What should I order? Go for the typical Gujarati experience and get the Maharani Thali, that comes with the chef’s choice of two mini starters, four curries, rolti, rice, dhal/khudi and dessert.
Where can I find her? Prashad, 137 Whitehall Road, Bradford

Sarit Packer

Who is she? Hailing from Northern Israel, Sarit Packer moved to London when she decided she wanted to become a chef. Her career has spanned across a number of impressive restaurants, including OXO Tower, Ottolenghi and also managing the opening of NOPI. Now Sarit and her partner, Itamar Srulovich, run the much-loved Honey & Co Bloomsbury, as well as Honey & Smoke which focuses more on grill cooking, and Honey & Spice, a Middle Eastern Deli.
What should I order? You can’t visit one of these spots without trying the feta & honey cheesecake on a kadaif base. Served with Greek thyme honey, almonds and blueberries, it’s not one to be missed.
Where can I find her? Honey & Co. Bloomsbury, 54 Lamb's Conduit Street, London; Honey & Smoke, 216 Great Portland Street, London; Honey & Spice, 52 Warren Street, London

Elly Wentworth

Elly Wentworth

Who is she?
Don’t be fooled by Elly Wentworth’s age, because even at just 29, she has a wealth of experience. After studying professional cookery at City College Plymouth, she first worked at Tanner Restaurant, followed by three successive Michelin star kitchens. She appeared on Masterchef: The Professionals in 2016 and more recently has be seen on Great British Menu in 2021. Now Elly can be found at The Angel in Dartmouth, where local ingredients are championed including some of the best fish in the UK, caught off of Devon’s shores.
What should I order? The day boat brill with charred leek, caviar and mussel cream, or a Sunday roast if you can make it – those crispy potatoes are worth visiting for alone.
Where can I find her? The Angel2 South Embankment, Dartmouth

SquareMeal has partnered with Champagne Ayala for the Best Female Chefs Series, interviewing some of the UK's best female chefs. 

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About the AYALA SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year Award:

This award was launched in 2018 to celebrate the huge contribution female chefs are making to the UK restaurant industry – something that can be overlooked in a still male-dominated sector.

It shines a spotlight on the women whose achievements are an inspiration to everyone involved in this vibrant sector, and particularly to women who might be just starting out on a career as a chef, as well as to diners choosing where to eat.

AYALA is one of the best kept secrets of Champagne. With a history dating back to 1860, AYALA were pioneers of dry, vibrant styles of Champagne, they were one of the original Grandes Marques Houses, and were awarded a Royal Warrant by Edward VII in 1908. Since 2005, the Bollinger family have helped restore this historic House to its former glory. Champagne AYALA is known for its fresh and elegant wines, made with precision and delicacy and crafted on a boutique scale. The wines have been served in the UK for over 100 years in many of London’s most prestigious establishments.

For more information click here.

 

Can’t get enough of famous chefs? Check out our list of the all the best British chefs doing amazing things for the hospitality industry. 

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