DATE & TIME
Friday 28th of September 2018
7:00 pm to 11:00 pm
L’atelier des Chefs
19 Wigmore Street
Marylebone, London W1U 1PH
HISTORY AND CREDENTIALS
French-born Hélène Darroze is currently Chef de Cuisine at Hélène Darroze in Paris, France, and Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in Mayfair, London. As a fourth-generation descendent of a family of chefs, Hélène is the only double-Michelin starred female chef patron in the UK, and is a veritable blueblood of French fare, having grown up and worked in her family’s acclaimed restaurant in the south west of France.
Hélène completed a degree from l’Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Bordeaux before joining Alain Ducasse’s team in 1992 at the prestigious Louis XV restaurant in Monaco where she remained for three years. In 1995, she returned to her family’s restaurant and hotel in Villeneuve-de-Marsan, southwest France, where she helped retain its existing Michelin star.
In 1999, she opened her namesake restaurant, Hélène Darroze, in Paris, where she received her first Michelin star in 2001, and was later awarded a second Michelin star in 2003. Hélène was named Head Chef of Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in London in 2008, where in only six months, the restaurant was awarded a first Michelin star – they received a second star in 2011, which they retain to this day.
Not only has Hélène been honoured for her work by Michelin and named the 2015 Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef, she has also been awarded the Order of Chevalier twice (in 2008 and 2012), one of the highest decorations in France. Hélène is a first grade Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur for her contribution to food, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres for her contribution to culture, and was promoted Chevalier l’Ordre du Mérite by (then) President Sarkozy.
PASSION FOR FOOD
Hélène’s attention to detail for sourcing the very best ingredients translates into the much-loved dishes she creates. At The Connaught, diners can select from the tasting menu using a clever marble board game, whereby each of the marbles displays a key ingredient from which Hélène creates a personalised dish.
Hélène spends months working on new menus at The Connaught, the core of which celebrates the tastes and textures of each individual item of produce. She takes great pride in tailoring her culinary offering by combining traditional produce from her native Les Landes, with some of the finest ingredients from the UK.
PERSONAL FAVOURITE DISHES
Growing up in southwest France evokes many fond memories for Hélène, most of which include enjoying meals with her family. Her grandmother was a fantastic cook. “My absolute favourite dishes are roast chicken and pot-au-feu the way my grandmother used to cook them”, she explains. “I remember my entire family sitting together around a table laden with dishes.”
Hélène has two young daughters, Charlotte and Quiterie, both of whom were adopted from different orphanages in Vietnam. She often travels with her children between London and Paris to ensure they are by her side as often as possible. As a family, they love to dine out and go to places like Selfridges (food halls) and Borough Market, and are particularly fond of Asian restaurants in London. They also love to travel and discover new cultures, as well as going to the theatre. Cooking, food and family are a big part of Hélène’s passions and everyday life.
Hélène was the influence for the character Colette Tatou in the Academy Award-winning Pixar film, Ratatouille. A Pixar production team and film crew followed Hélène around the kitchen at Hélène Darroze in Paris for a week two years before the film was released in order to learn about a chef’s life.
She is also a regular member of the jury on the hugely popular TV programme ‘Top Chef’ in France, since 2015.
Hélène hosts a residency at Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in San Sebastián, where she showcases her favoured Basque cuisine with menus featuring the area’s bounty of seasonal ingredients.