London is poised to overtake Paris as the gastronomic capital of Europe, the Editor of the Great Britain and Ireland Michelin guide has said.A total of 16 British restaurants were yesterday awarded their first Michelin star, while three were given their second. Almost half of them were in London.
Rebecca Burr, editor of the guide, said: “It is realistic, in future London could overtake New York and Paris. London is the place to be, a lot of the top chefs want to set up here. We have got a much more diverse cuisine which we should celebrate.”
The capital has a total of 60 starred restaurants, including four with three stars and eight with two stars. Paris has 77 starred restaurants, including 10 with three stars and 17 with two stars.
Mikael Jonsson, a Swedish chef, earned his first Michelin star at the age of 44 for Hedone, a French restaurant based in Chiswick, West London.
Jonsson opted to set up his restaurant in London after being put off by restrictive Labour laws in Paris. He said: “In Paris there are so many constraints that it [opening a restaurant] would never really have happened.
“You can’t get rid of staff, you have to assume responsibility for them. You have seen a gastronomic revolution in England. I love Paris but London is also a fantastic restaurant venue because it’s extremely dynamic with a highly multi-cultural population.”
His achievement was all the more remarkable because for 25 years a severe food allergy forced him to pursue a career as a lawyer rather than a chef.
Any contact with shellfish and raw meat brought on eczema and asthma, to the extent that he could only cook with cortisone injections.
He was forced instead to confine his love of food to a blog. However, last year a change of diet saw his allergies disappear and he opened Hedone, a French restaurant in Chiswick, West London.
Three restaurants have been elevated to two-star status, including Simon Rogan’s L’enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, Michael Wignall at the Latymer at Pennyhill Park in Surrey and Pierre Gagnaire and Mourad Mazouz’s Sketch in London.
Rogan’s award comes after he received a perfect 10 in the Good Food guide earlier this month, a score that has only previously been attained by Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck.
He opened his restaurant in an 800-year-old Smithy in the village of Cartmel in 2003, and is renowned for using modern cooking techniques.
Among the 16 British restaurants given their first star is Dabbous, a restaurant in central London which has attracted such a following it has a year-long waiting list.
Oliver Dabbous, 31, opened the restaurant in February this year and has since attracted a succession of five star reviews.
Instead of focusing on fine dining, Dabbous has rough plaster walls, exposed pipes and tables of scorched wood planks. Dabbous trained under Raymond Blanc and focuses on simple food, while guests pour their own wine.
He said: “If you’ve stepped foot inside the restaurant, you’ll realise we aren’t concerned with ticking boxed for guide books. Nonetheless, it’s a lovely pat on the back for my incredible staff.”
Heston Blumenthal’s Hinds Head, a restaurant in a 15th century pub in Bray, was also awarded its first star. The award means Blumenthal has pulled level with Gordon Ramsay as Britain’s most successful chef, with five stars each.
Tom Aikens, who left a trail of debt and suppliers out of pocket after his restaurant company went into administration in 2008, has regained a star he lost when his eponymous restaurant in Chelsea was being refurbished.
Outside London, Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 in Padstow, Cornwall, was awarded its first Michelin star after seven years.
Ainsworth said: “Well a few tears and the most random morning of my life but we have won a Michelin star!!”
The Michelin star winners were accidentally published yesterday a week ahead of the official announcement because of a “technical error”.
Two Michelin stars:
Micheal Wignall at the Latymer, Pennyhill Park, Surrey
L’enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria
One Michelin star:
Paul Ainsworth at Number 6, Padstow
Bath Priory, Bath
Raby Hunt, Summerhouse, near Darlington
Thackeray’s Restaurant, Kent
Hinds Head, Bray
The Red Lion Free House, Wiltshire
Alyn Williams at the Westbury, London
Launceston Place, London
St Johns Hotel, London
Tom Aikens, London
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