If an archaic rhetoric that ‘women belong in the kitchen’ still exists, why is the culinary industry so male-dominated? To help tip the scales back in the favour of some incredible women, we thought we would make a list of the Best Female Chefs in London to get you inspired for your next culinary outing.
It’s no secret that the culinary industry is very male-dominated, and as such, for the women who wish to turn their passion for cooking into a livelihood, the struggle is very real. From being turned away and being told that women are only hired as ‘pastry chefs’ to establishing authority in male-dominated kitchens, the achievements of these women is all the more admirable.
Best Female Chefs in London
The first and only female chef in the UK to hold three Michelin stars, Clare opened her first restaurant Core in Notting Hill in August 2017. Having gained the award of Best Female Chef in 2018, it’s therefore no wonder she made top of our list of 10 Best Female Chefs in London. What’s more, Clare has also catered for many high-profile events including the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Go for one of the tasting menus: ‘Core Classics’, which features dishes that Clare has continually refined over the years, or ‘Core Seasons’, which sees more contemporary constructions with a luxurious edge. The strength of the kitchen lies in its ability to create modern dishes that deliver superb flavours and textures but in a restrained, understated style. The terrific wine flights enhance an already outstanding experience.Michelin Guide
Nieves Barragán Mohacho
Growing up in Balbao in the Basque region of Spain, it’s there that Nieves developed her passion for food from an early age and learned all about the region’s produce and cuisine. Head Chef at the Restaurant Sabor where she earned a Michelin Star, Nieves first moved to London in 1998 starting in the kitchen at Simply Nico before becoming Executive Chef at the first Barrafina Restaurant.
Heddon Street may not quite resemble a side street in Seville but it can sometimes lead to serendipitous discoveries. Sabor is the brainchild of chef Nieves Barragán, and she has created something authentic and truly joyful with co-owner José Etura, who has assembled a charming service team.Michelin Guide
Angela Hartnett & Emily Brightman
We have put Angela Hartnett and Emily Brightman together as both women work alongside each other at the 1 Michelin Star Restaurant Murano owned by Angela.
After spending 3 years at Gordon Ramsay’s 3 Michelin Star London Restaurant along with spells at Petrus in Knightsbridge, Emily became Head Chef at Murano in January 2017.
Angela Hartnett found her love of cooking after landing her first job at Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados before getting hired by Gordon Ramsay in 1998 to work at Aubergine. Angela opened Murano in 2008 and within 4 months achieved a Michelin star, followed by 4 AA Rosettes.
The north of Italy is the focus of the wonderfully appealing menu here at Murano and, while the dishes clearly have a classical base, they have been subtly reinvented and lightened, resulting in sophisticated cooking which exhibits a delicious vitality and freshness. Choose between 3 and 6 dishes; the pastas, in particular, are a strength.Michelin Guide
Originally from Australia and a former food writer for British Vogue, Skye has made her mark as one of the best and most respected chefs in the UK. Having initially trained in Sidney and Paris, it was at Petersham Nurseries in London that Skye became renowned for her elegant and seasonal cooking. Skye launched her own restaurant Spring in October 2014. What’s more, Skye has also made her mark by publishing 3 incredible cooking books: ‘A Year in My Kitchen’, ‘My Favourite Ingredients’ and ‘How I Cook’.
Bright, white Spring restaurant occupies the ‘new wing’ of Somerset House that for many years was inhabited by the Inland Revenue. Under the aegis of chef Skye Gyngell, it serves fresh and unfussy Italian-influenced and ingredient-led food that you feel is doing you good as you eat it.Michelin Guide
Asma Khan founded her restaurant Darjeeling Express in June 2017 after Asma’s passion for cooking originally lead her to start a successful supper club in her own home. In 2015 she then opened a successful pop-up in a Soho pub to much acclaim before before becoming the first British chef to be featured in an episode of Netflix’s Emmy Nominated Chef’s Table.
Darjeeling Express is the definition of honest, traditional Indian food. Conjuring the ambience of a home-cooked dinner enjoyed with your nearest and dearest, the all-women kitchen team at Darjeeling Express lovingly create a multitude of flavours and textures served on sharing platters, with recipes drawing influence from the length and breadth of India.Michelin Guide
Ruth’s passion for food and cooking started at a young age. At the age of thirteen, she started growing her own vegetable in her garden and learned the basics by watching shows such as MasterChef and Great British Menu (which she later competed in herself). Ruth studied at Westminster College whilst also working at Shoreditch’s Boundary under Head Chef Frederick Forster before beginning a three-year apprenticeship at The Ritz during which the restaurant gained its first Michelin Star. Today, Ruth is the Head Chef at the gastropub Princess of Shoreditch; serving refined and elevated British & European cuisine.
Snacks are served in the cosy downstairs bar of this 18C pub; head up the spiral staircase to the first-floor dining room for tasting menus which showcase seasonal British produce. Cooking is confident with a classical base and dishes are eye-catching, well-balanced and full of flavour.Michelin Guide
Mandy Yin is the Founder and Head Chef of the Malaysian Restaurant Sambal Shiok in London and author of the cookbook of the same name. Founded in 2013, the restaurant is a real homage to Malasyian cuisine and consistently draws crowds from all over thanks to her rich, fragrant and deeply satisfying dishes.
Last but certainly not least on our list of Best Female Chefs in London, Lisa Goodwin-Allen is a household name of British Cuisine and for good reason. She joined the team of the Michelin Star restaurant Northcote having joined the restaurant age only 21 before becoming Head Chef there in 2015. Over the years, Lisa has gained many industry awards and accolades including Best Chef of the Year 2008, Winner of The Hotel Cateys Chef of the Year 2019 & much more.
Head Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen’s refined, sophisticated cooking shows real depth of flavour and a lightness of touch, along with plenty of originality – and the accompanying wine list is outstanding.Michelin Guide