Last night's (25 January) virtual event to commemorate the launch of the latest edition of the red book saw a total of 22 restaurants receive new star ratings, with three new two-star restaurants announced and 17 new one-star restaurants recognised.
In total, the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland 2021 features no fewer than 185 Michelin-starred restaurants.
"We are absolutely thrilled with the news and want to thank Michelin for recognising our hard work particularly during such an unprecedented time," says Smyth, who opened Core in 2017 and has already won many plaudits for her elegant dishes that celebrate British produce.
"This year has been unbelievably challenging, and I am so proud of my team for their resilience and their constant dedication to excellence.
"I am also immensely grateful for all the support we have received from our guests, and our amazing British farmers, food producers and suppliers, many who have been on the journey with us from the beginning. I would also like to thank the restaurant community who have supported me throughout my career."
Chef Andrew Wong's flagship restaurant A Wong in Victoria became the first Chinese restaurant in the UK to achieve a two-star rating, with fellow London restaurants Da Terra in Bethnal Green and Restaurant Story in Southwark also receiving two stars.
“We are beyond delighted to have been recognised by Michelin with a second star," says Wong.
"We have an incredible team who have supported us every day and been such an integral part of this journey. Like so many restaurants, this has been a hard and challenging year and we’re all just looking forward to celebrating - virtually - and hopefully in person in the not too distant future.”
Among the London restaurants to receive their first start was Tom Brown's Hackney hotspot Cornerstone; SO|LA in Soho; Davies and Brook in Mayfair; Muse in Belgravia; and chef Andy Beynon's recently launched Behind in London Fields.
Meanwhile, Indian fine-dining restaurant Benares on Mayfair’s Berkeley Square regained its star, having lost it in the 2020 Guide.
Outside of the capital, Merlin Labron-Johnson's Bruton restaurant Osip was awarded its first star, as did Hide & Fox in Kent and Justin Sharp's Pea Porridge in in Bury St Edmonds.
Reacting to the announcement, Labron-Johnson says it was an honour to see Osip win its first star.
“I am over the moon to have been awarded a star and to be recognised by such a prestigious establishment," he says.
"I’m so very proud of the work we’re doing at Osip and am really grateful to my team for their work along the way, as well as the wonderful local producers and the Bruton community for their unwavering support."
Chef Tommy Banks received two distinctions. His York restaurant Roots received its first star, while its sister restaurant The Black Swan Oldstead (which has held a Michelin star since 2013) became one of the first in the UK to earn Michelin's new green star that recognises sustainable gastronomy and distinguishes restaurants taking responsibility in the conversation of resources and the protection of biodiversity.
"Roots has certainly developed and evolved since launching in September 2018," says Banks.
"We set off with lots of different ideas - some stayed, others didn’t. A few things have remained a constant; our commitment to local producers and self-sufficiency, as well as one day reaching Michelin potential.
"I am really proud to be the first restaurant in York to win a star. It's a testament to the team’s hard work and hope it shines a spotlight on the diverse food and drink scene in York."
Nathan Outlaw, whose permanently closed his flagship, two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Port Isaac, Cornwall, last year, saw the restaurant he relaunched on that site - named Outlaw's New Road - receive its first star.
In Scotland, longstanding Glasgow restaurant Cail Bruich, which is led by Andrew Fairlie protégé Lorna McNee, was awarded its first star; and in Republic of Ireland, Ahmet Dede's modern Turkish restaurant Dede in Baltimore also received a star.
The announcement of the new stars, which would usually have taken place in October last year, comes amid the unprecedent facing the hospitality sector as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Michelin says the inspectors were able to work on this edition for over 16 months, which meant the lockdowns could be easily absorbed into the working period.
They have used the same methodology and looked for the same standards as they do in any year.
Speaking at the launch, Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said: “This has been a hugely challenging period for the hospitality industry and our thoughts remain with all those who have suffered from the pandemic and by the restrictions that have been put in place.
“We were heartened by the number of chefs who called us during the year to ensure we were still going ahead with the Guide and our yearly awards. The Michelin Guide is about so much more than recognising those at the top of their profession; it is about promoting the hospitality industry as a whole and we want to shine a light on the hard work, tenacity and commitment of chefs and restaurant teams.”
Darroze, who opened her eponymous restaurant at The Connaught hotel back in 2009, said after last night's event: "It is with immense emotion and honour that I receive this award.
"My first thoughts are with my teams, especially Kirk Whittle, my Pastry accomplice for the last 17 years, Executive Chef Marco Zampese and Restaurant Manager Mirko Benzo, who have been working with me at The Connaught for over eight years. My thoughts also go out to Paddy McKillen, co-owner of The Connaught, who has trusted me to take the reins of the gourmet restaurant since 2008.
"My appreciation particularly goes to the small suppliers who have helped us, especially the wonderful and emerging British producers, without whom good cooking would not be possible and need support at this time.
"I am also particularly proud to receive this award alongside my friend chef Clare Smyth.
"Believe in your dreams – everything is possible, and stay true to your femininity.”
The full list of new Michelin stars for 2020 is as follows:
NEW THREE STAR (Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey)
Core by Clare Smyth, Notting Hill
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Mayfair
NEW TWO STAR (Excellent cooking, worth a detour)
A Wong, Victoria
Da Terra, Bethnal Green
Restaurant Story, Southwark
NEW ONE STAR (high quality cooking, worth a stop)
Casa Fofo, London
Cornerstone, Hackney, London
Davies and Brook, London
Muse, Belgravia, London
Sola, Soho, London
Hide and Fox, Saltwood, Kent
Latymer, Bagshot, Surrey
Osip, Bruton, Somerset
Outlaw's New Road, Port Isaac, Cornwall
Pea Porridge, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Restaurant Hjem, Hexham, Northumberland
Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall, North Yorkshire
Cail Bruich, Glasgow
Dede, Baltimore, Cork