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Clare Smyth and Angela Hartnett among female chefs taking part in Girls Night Out

By Peter Ruddick , 09-Mar-2012

Related topics: Venues, Events & Awards, People, Restaurants

Clare Smyth, head chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and Anna Hansen from The Modern Pantry are among chefs cooking for Girls Night Out; a three-night dinner in celebration of female talent organized by Angela Hartnett and Fiona Sims.

Clare Smyth, head chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, spoke to BigHospitality about her participation in Girl's Night Out

Clare Smyth, head chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, spoke to BigHospitality about her participation in Girl's Night Out

Gordon Ramsay protégé and Chef Patron at the Murano, Angela Hartnett has teamed up with food and wine writer Fiona Sims and together they have asked some of the world’s most prominent female chefs to cook a series of special dinners next week at London’s 1 Lombard Street restaurant.

World's 50 Best Restaurants

Hartnett, Smyth and Hansen will represent the UK and each will cook with a leading female chef from overseas. Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune restaurant, New York, Helena Rizzo of Mani, Sao Paulo and Margot Janse of Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek, South Africa will be jetting into London to take part in the event. 

Le Quartier Francais featured in last year’s World's 50 Best Restaurants list organized by BigHospitality’s sister publication Restaurant magazine. This year’s winners will be revealed on 30 April. 

Female chefs

Speaking to BigHospitality, Smyth, who heads up Ramsays’s three Michelin-starred Chelsea kitchen, said she jumped at the chance to cook with world-class chefs in the series of dinners between 11-13 March. 

“It is just a great idea - working with some fantastic female chefs from around the world that we hear about but I’ve never met and never had a chance to eat their food. It is just really getting to know a little bit more about what they’re doing, their culture, their food,” she said. 

“I am with Helena Rizzo, a Brazilian chef. She is quite modern in her style so it is really interesting to see food coming from different parts of the world that is really cutting edge in a way but it has also got that history about where it is from,” Smyth said. 

Not just the chefs at the three dinners will be leading women in their field as the all-female team of sommeliers serving the accompanying wines from female producers will be Dawn Davies of Selfridges Wonder Bar.

International Women's Day

Coming off the back of International Women’s Day, Smyth said the event was a chance to celebrate female talent and while it would be good to see more women in the industry being known as a female chef was not at the forefront of her mind. 

“It is not important to me at all. There are few female chefs in the industry, it would be good to see some more involved but it is one of those unfortunate things. There is not that many at all so that is why it is good to get together and show-off,” she said.

“For me, personally, it is not a big thing. I just get on with it. I am just a chef day-to-day. I actually find it a bit annoying when people say ‘she is good for a woman’, I like to think that I am good because I am good at what I do,” she added.

In an exclusive video for BigHospitality , Hartnett spoke about women in hospitality alongside Carrie Wicks of Firmdale Hotels and Jillian Maclean of Drake & Morgan.

Each dinner will be a partnership of two of the chefs consisting of a 5-course menu following a Champagne and canapé reception. The lucky diners will also be able to put questions to the chefs.

Smyth revealed all of the chefs were planning to meet up on the Saturday before the event to get to know each other. Smyth’s menu on the Monday will include a mini-Scotch egg, Scottish langoustines, wild garlic risotto and a lemonade parfait.

The three dinners are:

  • Sunday 11th March – Gabrielle Hamilton with Angela Hartnett
  • Monday 12th March – Helena Rizzo with Clare Smyth
  • Tuesday 13th March – Margot Janse with Anna Hansen

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