2 Michelin Star Chefs: Hélène Darroze, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th September 2017

Hélène Darroze is the chef patron of two Michelin-starred Hélène Darroze at The Connaught.

French chef Hélène currently holds three Michelin Stars, two at The Connaught in Mayfair and a third for her eponymous restaurant in Paris.

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

Helene Darroze at The Connaught

Carlos Pl, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL

Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 12–2pm, 6:30–10pm

Sunday 12–3pm, 6:30–9pm
Website:
www.the-connaught.co.uk/mayfair-restaurants/helene-darroze/

Instagram: @helenedarroze

Twitter: @helenedarroze

Facebook: www.facebook.com/helenedarroze21

Phone: 020 3147 7200

Head chef: Alex Dilling 

Head sommelier: Mirko Benzo 

Restaurant manager: Damian Sanchez Perez

Food style: French haute cuisine, influenced by her heritage and upbringing, and she says that she cooks what she is.

Biography

Born in the southwest region of Landes in 1967, Darroze grew up in a family with a rich food heritage. The previous three generations had all run the Michelin-starred family restaurant in her home town Villeneuve-de-Marsan, and Hélène did not buck the trend.

She took a degree in Business studies at Bordeaux Business School and then was hired to work for Alain Ducasse in 1990, in the office of his Monaco restaurant Le Louis XV. However, before starting on the desk job she was enticed into the kitchen and started working there under Ducasse, eventually becoming his right-hand man over the course of her three year stay. She would spend half her time in the kitchen and half in the office, doing everything from managing and marketing to organising menus and recipes.

Credit Helene Darroze.com
Credit HélèneDarroze.com

She then returned to the family restaurant and worked there for a number of years, eventually taking over in the kitchen when her father stepped aside. She maintained the Michelin star that had been awarded, and also kept a close contact with Ducasse who became like a godfather to her. Despite winning a number of awards and garnering much critical acclaim, in 1999 the restaurant closed, citing financial problems with its location as being unproductive to drawing in customers.

Restaurant Hélène Darroze

That same year, aged 32, she moved to the French capital and launched Restaurant Hélène Darroze. Success was almost instant, and in 2000 it was announced that the restaurant would win its first Michelin star in the next edition of the guide, and a second star followed in 2003 which was held until 2010. One of her main priorities remains to regain the lost second star.

In 2008 Darroze was appointed to replace Angela Hartnett at the Connaught Hotel’s restaurant in London. The hotel and restaurant underwent significant refurbishment and was opened with her name in the title. Although it received some severe criticism early on, this didn’t hold back the Michelin judges. 2009 saw its first star and the second was bestowed two years later, with both being retained since.

What the guides say...

Michelin

Michelin stars

AA Restaurant Guide

five rosettes

Harden's

hardens helene darroze

She splits her time equally between her two restaurants, crossing The Channel on a weekly basis. Darroze also indirectly starred in the hit Disney movie Ratatouille, with the film company basing the character of chef Colette on her, something which few if any chefs could put on their CVs. She insists that the recipe for success is based on respect, for colleagues and customers alike.

Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef 2015

As well as being named the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef 2015, Darroze’s other accolades include admittance into the French Legion of Honour as a Chevalier by President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012. Darroze’s likeable and even-handed personality inspired the character, Chef Colette, in the 2007 Pixar Animation Studios’ hit Ratatouille. She was also a judge on France’s Top Chef 2015.

Through this accolade The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, in partnership with Veuve Clicquot, shines a light on a rarefied family of extraordinary female chefs. The Veuve Clicquot World's Best Female Chef award celebrates the work of a woman whose cooking most impresses the world’s toughest critics and most venerated chefs, more than 900 of whom voted in this category.

As a winner of the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef award, Hélène Darroze joins a group of exceptionally talented chefs including luminaries, Elena Arzak of Spain’s Arzak, Anne-Sophie Pic of Maison Pic in France, Nadia Santini of Dal Pescatore in the Italian countryside and last year’s winner, Helena Rizzo of Brazilian restaurant Mani.

Awards:

Two Michelin Stars at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught
One Michelin Star at Restaurant Hélène Darroze, Paris
Champérard guide Young Chef of the Year 1995 and Chef of the Year for the Southwest Region 1996

Videos by Hélène Darroze:

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th September 2017

2 Michelin Star Chefs: Hélène Darroze, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught