Michelin Guide UK 2021 Chef Reactions: 'There's nothing that is unachieveable out there now'

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"It means the world," said chef Lorna McNee, newly-instated head chef at Cail Bruich, upon receiving a Michelin star for her and her team.

Despite a very troubled year for the restaurant industry, the Michelin Guide has awarded 17 one star awards, three two-star accolades, and two top three-star awards in the 2021 Guide for Great Britain and Ireland.

Streamed live on its website and YouTube Channel (where you can rewatch it now), the awards ceremony was entirely digital, with international director Gwendal Poullenec in Paris and host Devina McCall alone in the studio which would have normally been filled with guests.

A. Wong, who received two stars for his restaurant, said, "it's massively humbling and today is a really historic day for Chinese communities.

"It's for every Chinese restaurant that has laid the ground for this to be possible in the 120 years since there've been Chinese restaurants in the UK," he said. 

Rafael Cagali of Da Terra, also awarded two stars, said he was "chuffed and overwhelmed," after a terrible year, "thank you to Michelin for recognising our work, we had to open and close the restaurant three times this year but managed to keep the consistency going with our hard work." 

Tom Sellers teared up upon receiving his two stars, and said: "it's been a lifetime's work so to sit among such great chefs feels amazing."

"I don't know what to say, it's such an honour. I'm thinking about my team here, because these guys work so hard with me just to give happiness to our guests and to reach these kind of things. 

Helene Darroze, who received three stars for her eponymous restaurant at The Connaught, meaning she currently holds 8 stars across three restaurants, said: "They will be so honoured and so happy.

"If I can say also, I'm thinking of all the women in the kitchen and I just want to let them know, everything is possible, live your passion as you are and be positive - everything can happen." 

Finally, three stars were awarded to Clare Smyth, who has long been fingered as deserving of the highest accolade in the book.

"Thank you so much, it's incredible." 

Asked what they did to take it to the next level, she said: "We don't know. We work hard every day to be better every day, we work hard to be better every day than the last." 

"Obviously it's my dream to achieve this level but you could never imagine it would happen." 

"It's incredible."

Her message to any female chefs out there, "there's nothing that is unachieveable out there now." 

"Core opened three years ago, it was my passion since I was sixteen years old. It was my restaurant that I own and I just want for the future that all chefs, male or female get to own their own restaurant."

Thanking the growers and suppliers and her "phenomenal" team, she said: "This is some of their work, it's everybody's work."

Alain Ducasse sent his congratulations to both chefs, who once trained alongside him, saying his was very proud and very happy. 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th January 2021

Michelin Guide UK 2021 Chef Reactions: 'There's nothing that is unachieveable out there now'