Food for thought: The female chefs taking 2017 by storm
London’s restaurant scene steps up a gear as the world’s most acclaimed female chefs come to the fore
If you believe the way the restaurant industry is portrayed on television, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a macho, testosterone-filled environment. And while there's still a way to go in achieving a balance in the UK's kitchens - recent statistics suggest less than 20 per cent of chefs are female - this year will see a number of hotly anticipated and high-profile openings in London with women at the helm.
Among these is a familiar face, Masterchef's Monica Galetti (pictured below), whose first restaurant Mere opens in Fitzrovia in the coming weeks. A collaborative effort with her sommelier husband David, the split-level establishment, featuring a ground-floor bar and basement restaurant, promises relaxed and casual dining with a light take on the classics.
Also to look forward to is a new opening from another stalwart of the London dining scene, Clare Smyth (pictured top). The first female chef in the UK to hold three Michelin stars at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, she will be pursuing a solo venture, due to open this summer, having secured a site in Notting Hill.
Elsewhere, Anne-Sophie Pic, the only woman in France in 50 years to hold three Michelin stars for the acclaimed Maison Pic in Valence, will this month bring a taste of her award-winning cuisine to London's Four Seasons hotel. La Dame de Pic is sure to build on the success of its Parisian counterpart, offering the chef's trademark unique flavours combined with traditional French fare.
Early 2017 will also see a more international focus, with the arrival of Martha Ortiz to the capital. A leading authority on Mexican gastronomy, her vibrant and modern take has already gained her accolades at Dulce Patria in Mexico City. For her latest venture, she will join the InterContinental hotel alongside Theo Randall's existing establishment, with a new restaurant showcasing the very best cuisine the country has to offer.