Helene Darroze has been awarded a prestigious third Michelin star for her eponymous restaurant at The Connaught in London.
The French chef opened Helene Darroze at The Connaught in 2008, gaining her first star at the restaurant six months after opening and her second in 2011.
The highly prestigious recognition comes at the most difficult of times for the hospitality sector, and was announced in the annual Great Britain and Ireland 2021 Michelin Guide.
“It is with immense emotion and honour that I receive this award. My first thoughts are with my teams, especially Kirk Whittle, my pastry accomplice for the last 17 years, executive chef Marco Zampese and restaurant manager Mirko Benzo, who have been working with me at The Connaught for more than eight years,” said Darroze.
“My thoughts also go out to Paddy McKillen, co-owner of The Connaught, who has trusted me to take the reins of the gourmet restaurant.”
Darroze hails from Les Landes in south-west France, and mixes produce from the area with ingredients from the British Isles.
“My appreciation also goes to the small suppliers who have helped us, especially the wonderful and emerging British producers, without whom good cooking would not be possible, and who need our support at this time. I am also particularly proud to receive this award alongside my friend Clare Smyth [the chef also gained a third star for her restaurant Core in Notting Hill]. Believe in your dreams – everything is possible – and stay true to your femininity,” she added.
“We are so exceptionally proud of what Helene and her team have created at The Connaught, continuing the hotel’s legacy for offering our guests some of the finest culinary experiences in the world,” said McKillen.
Darroze was also recently awarded her second star in the 2021 French Michelin guide for her restaurant Marsan par Helene Darroze in Paris, where she also operates Joia.
A fourth-generation descendant of a long line of chefs, Darroze began her official culinary career in 1990 where she worked alongside Alain Ducasse in Monte Carlo.
She then went on to run her family’s Villeneuve de Marsan restaurant before opening her own establishment in Paris in 1999.
Helene Darroze at The Connaught was also the subject of a redesign in 2019 by Pierre Yovanovitch, creating an Armagnac Room and her first chef’s table in the kitchen, but is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
It has however started its first “Helene a La Maison” takeaway and delivery service, which has proved hugely popular with her loyal clientele, the hotel said.