Napoleon may have called us a nation of shopkeepers, but Brits are determined to become a nation of chefs. In recent years, international stars of the culinary world have become household names with television shows, cookbooks, and high-profile restaurant openings. Despite the country’s less-than-stellar culinary reputation, Brits are not exempt from this “celebrity chef” trend. Between Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred restaurants and his television programs, he’s done more for public opinion of British cooking than anyone else in the past twenty years. And, with his Bunsen burners and snail ice cream, Heston Blumanthal bought excitement and surprise back into British cooking. At the Connaught Hotel, Helen Darroze is one of the few top women chefs in the world, and she more than holds her own against the lads. And, Jamie Oliver continues to pursue his campaign for better food education world wide. You’ve seen these personalities on television, but now you can experience their cuisine first-hand at some of the best celebrity chef restaurants in London.
DINNER by Heston Blumenthal
One of the hottest tickets of last year, this restaurant has caused endless confusion for Londoners making plans. “Want to come to DINNER?” “We are going to dinner.” “No DINNER by Heston… oh never-mind.” Blumenthal looks back over centuries of British cookery with a menu that includes everything from 15th-century meat fruit to 17th-century powdered duck breast.
Helene Darroze at the Connaught Hotel
The menu of French-born Darroze’s two-star Michelin restaurant is based around fresh ingredients from handpicked suppliers whose names are printed on the menu. A two-course lunch for £30 offers a taste of the menu, and the restaurant boasts that it can be served in an hour for a business lunch.
Michel Roux Jr. at Le Gavroche
A new kitchen and the introduction of a private dinning room, the “Chef’s Library,” move this restaurant, founded in 1967, firmly into the modern era. Chef de cuisine Michel Roux Jr. has recently become a household name from his TV appearances as a judge on Masterchef, while still maintaining the highest quality of cooking at his restaurant.
Maze by Gordon Ramsay
A hybrid of French and Asian cooking with an emphasis on sushi and sashimi, Maze is a buzz-worthy dining experience with impeccable service. The tasting dishes are fantastic and served in a dining room that somehow goes heavy on the wood without losing any light. Plus, while definitely not a budget-conscious restaurant, Maze is less expensive than many other Michelin-star meals in London.
Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen
When Oliver decided to take fifteen unemployed youths and teach them how to cook on television, he looked like he had bitten off more than he could chew. But it’s a testimony to his protégées and his determination to make Fifteen work that it is still open and producing promising chefs.