On March 8, International Women's Day was celebrated around the world.Taste France continues to give them a voice. Chef Hélène Darroze was recently awarded her third Michelin star in London and her second in Paris. Here, she looks back over a career filled with lessons and aspirations.
How would you define your style of cooking?
It’s obviously more elevated at the Marsan and the Connaught, and a little simpler at Jòia, but in all three, you get a sense of my emotions and my sensibility: the love for my southwestern roots, authenticity, generosity, the desire to discover new things… My childhood, my training, the people I’ve met and the places I’ve visited influence it all the time. It evolves, of course. Nowadays, I place more importance on choosing short supply chains and local products, for example.
Have you faced any barriers due to being a woman?
Personally, not really. During the years when I was training at the Louis XV in Monaco, and then running my first restaurant in Paris from 1999, I did attract a degree of curiosity initially, as there were so few of us in the industry. And it wasn’t until I was forty and had a strong team in place that I was able to become a mum for the first time.
And more generally, how has women’s place in the industry changed?
There are more and more of them, and they are receiving more recognition. As shown by the three Michelin stars awarded to Claire Smyth and me this year in the UK Michelin Guide. A distinction bestowed on only seven women in the world. There is still a long way to go... Luckily, we have the passion to drive us and a change in attitudes is within reach. Women need to stop feeling guilty, trust their potential and believe in their dreams!