Details of the 20 chefs chosen for The Power List: Restaurant magazine's 100 most powerful people in the restaurant industry.
Jason Atherton. Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton’s burgeoning empire spans Hong Kong, New York, Dubai, Shanghai and Australia, meaning that he spends a lot of time on aeroplanes, but he hasn’t forgotten about London. Japanese restaurant Sosharu has just launched and his Italian restaurant opens later this year in Nova Victoria, following on from last year’s launches of Social Wine & Tapas in Marylebone and The Clocktower in New York. Atherton’s influence on the UK dining scene cannot be overstated. As a chef, he has been at the vanguard of fine dining for more than a decade, and he continues to cook in his kitchens and develop dishes (when in the UK he can be found at his flagship Pollen Street Social); as a restaurateur, he has not only championed the chef stars of the future but supported the projects of loyal employees, many of whom have gone on to win Michelin stars in their own right.
Tom Kerridge. Becoming the first chef to earn two Michelin stars for cooking in a pub back in 2012 may have been the catalyst for Kerridge’s rise to fame, but it’s his lovable persona that’s seen him become one of the biggest names in the industry. He is a true crossover hit, selling consumer-orientated cookbooks by the truckload while simultaneously running two highly respected establishments, his Marlow flagship The Hand & Flowers and the more recently opened, and more affordable, The Coach. Kerridge’s TV presence is also on the up, with the chef presenting the new BBC programme Bake Off: Creme de la Creme.
Simon Rogan. Simon Rogan is a chef that largely keeps his head down. This dedication to his craft has paid off with his Cumbrian restaurant L’Enclume considered one of the greatest in the country (in fact it’s been voted as such in The Good Food Guide for three years in a row) and two well-regarded statement restaurants in London and Manchester. Rogan cooked avante garde, naturalistic food before it was fashionable and, in doing so, influenced a generation of chefs, with a number of his protégées now running successful restaurants of their own.
Marcus Wareing. Marcus Wareing proved to be a welcome foil to Gregg Wallace’s inane outbursts when he joined the MasterChef: The Professionals team, showing another side to his tough persona in the process. Not all chefs speak fondly of their time working under him, but Wareing’s no-nonsense approach to cooking at his two Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant, as well as his two other London sites, has set an enduring benchmark for aspiring chefs.
Sat Bains. Don’t be fooled by Sat Bains’ boxer build and less sympathetic conversational approach. Behind this rather gruff exterior is an intelligent and forward-thinking chef at the top of his game. Bains’ Nottingham-based restaurant with rooms is among the most creative in the country, with diners now able to access the very heart of the team’s development process following the launch of the Nucleus ‘restaurant within a restaurant.
Clare Smyth. The first and only woman to run a UK restaurant with three Michelin stars, it is Clare Smyth whom Gordon Ramsay has to thank for him retaining his status as an international culinary giant in the eyes of Michelin. The Northern Ireland-born chef is also the first female chef to be awarded a perfect 10 score by The Good Food Guide and is respected for her cooking as well as her ability in running one of the UK’s most celebrated restaurants. Smyth opens her first solo venture this year, which is expected to be a more informal take on a fine-dining restaurant. Expectations are high and all eyes will be on her progress.
Helene Darroze. The former World’s Best Female Chef, Darroze, whose kitchens hold a total of three Michelin stars between London and Paris, has expressed an interest in opening a more casual restaurant in London and in New York. As a chef who juggles being a mother with running highly feted restaurants in different countries, Darroze is a role model for ambitious female chefs both here and in her home country of France.
Fergus Henderson. The man behind the ‘nose-to-tail’ movement has had a huge influence on cooking styles both here and across The Pond since opening St John in 1994. The ripple effects of his approach are still being felt today, with his two restaurants having spawned a number of London’s top chef talent, and his cookbook, Nose to Tail Eating, recently being voted the best in the world in a poll of more than 400 international food professionals.
Angela Hartnett. As the UK’s most high-profile female chef, Angela Harnett has followed in mentor Gordon Ramsay’s empire-building footsteps since buying him out of Murano back in 2010. While the swish Mayfair Italian remains the flagship, this friendly but straight-talking chef has extended her reach through Hartnett Holder & Co in Hampshire, Merchants Tavern in London and her own Cafe Murano brand.
Nathan Outlaw. Nathan Outlaw’s specialism in seafood has done him proud, with the chef now running what can safely be described as a mini-empire of poisson-centric establishments in Cornwall and London. The chef’s relocated two Michelin-star flagship in Port Isaac is arguably the best place to eat seafood in the UK and his London outpost at The Capital hotel has overcome its somewhat stuffy digs to become a jewel of the Knightsbridge dining scene. Outlaw will also open his first international restaurant, in Dubai, later this year.
Michel Roux Jr. Michel Roux Jnr became a household name bossing MasterChef: The Professionals before stepping down over a row of his sponsorship of a spud brand. His two-star restaurant Le Gavroche has been a long-time temple to old-school French fine dining and he has this year taken over as joint chairman of the highly respected cooking competition The Roux Scholarship.
Glynn Purnell. Brummie chef Glynn Purnell has almost single-handedly flown the flag for high-end cuisine in the Midlands for the past decade or so, inspiring a legion of talented young chefs in the process. As well as running a well-established Michelin-starred restaurant and a bistro, he recently created the Harvey Nichols Brasserie for the department store’s new opening in Birmingham. His outgoing personality and strong media presence make him one of the UK’s most recognisable chefs.
Nuno Mendes. Once compared favourably with Ferran Adrià, Nuno Mendes has been at the forefront of avant-garde cooking in London since opening in Bacchus in 2006 and then Viajante four years later. His Loft Project was an incubator for a lot of emerging chef talent and his latest project, Taberna do Mercado, has helped raise the profile of Portuguese food here. He is looking to reopen Viajante in Wapping later this year.
Tong Chee Hwee. Although he’s unlikely to be seen on Saturday Kitchen any time soon, Tong Chee Hwee has made an indelible mark on the UK’s Asian restaurant scene since being employed way back in 2001 by Alan Yau to head the kitchen at Hakkasan. He pulled in a string of accolades for his cooking there and has since helped open more restaurants for what is now called Hakkasan Group including Yauatcha and HKK, which have received similar levels of critical acclaim.
Nieves Barragán-Mohaco. Nieves Barragán-Mohaco’s Spanish food in the UK has never been so attractive (and tasty) due to her tireless efforts at Barrafina. Thanks to her, owners Sam and Eddie Hart (see Power pairings) have been able to roll out Michelin-starred level food across London and help encourage more chefs to enter the Spanish arena across the country.
Daniel Clifford. A giant in the chef community, Daniel Clifford’s rigorous approach to fine dining and commitment to his Cambridge restaurant Midsummer House has earned him respect from his peers. Late last year, the Essex-based chef launched an upscale pub in the village of Little Dunmow called The Flitch of Bacon but his focus will remain on his flagship where he is intent on boosting his Michelin rating from two stars to three.
Stephen Harris. The unfailingly modest Stephen Harris may be a little surprised to find himself on this list but the influence of his deceptivelylow-key Kent pub cannot be overstated. His tasting menu is one of just a handful in the country to offer genuine terroir cooking and it is delivered without pretension. His cooking is uncomplicated but beautifully and consistently executed and lets the quality of the produce do the talking. As such, The Sportsman pulls in a disproportionate number of chefs from some of the world’s most vaunted establishments. Not bad for a Shepherd Neame tenancy that Harris laughingly describes as “a grubby pub by the sea”. Harris extended his reach via a consultancy that sees modified versions of his dishes at wine-focused London restaurant Noble Rot. A cookbook is also rumoured to be close.
Atul Kochhar. The UK isn’t short on high-profile Indian chefs but Jamshedpur-born Atul Kochhar is arguably the most successful with operations in London, Madrid, Mumbai and Dubai alongside several cruise ship-based restaurants. In 2001, he became the first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star and currently holds one for his cooking at Benares in Mayfair.
Brett Graham. Aussie interloper Brett Graham’s dedication to his craft sets him apart from the majority of his peers. With its obsessive sourcing policies and innovative approach to development, The Ledbury’s kitchen is among the most respected in the country and is a regular on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. While comparatively few people outside the industry will have heard of him, Graham is a hugely important figure in the cheffing world and a mentor for much emerging talent.
Martin Wishart. Martin Wishart is one of Scotland’s most successful chefs with a pair of Michelin-starred eponymous restaurants and an upscale brasserie. Along with Tom Kitchin, Wishart has played a pivotal role in transforming Edinburgh’s restaurant scene into the powerhouse it is today and continues to fly the flag for Scottish cuisine.