The World’s 50 Best Restaurants have announced that the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef of 2015 is Hélène Darroze. She is a fourth-generation chef born into a family of chefs who has been cooking since the age of six. She has opened two highly acclaimed restaurants in Paris and London after three years of training under Alain Ducasse.
After winning the award, Hélène spoke to The World’s Best 50 website (see full interview here) saying that she was not expecting the award. She speaks about the hardships of being a chef and the fact that there are so few women at the top level in this industry. “There’s one day in this job when you have to choose between being a wife and a mother and being a chef. The two things are very, very difficult to combine and most of the really talented young women in my kitchen stopped because they wanted to be a mum and a wife and they thought it was not compatible – which is probably not true but for them it was.”
Hélène who adopted two children in her early 40s said she was not sure she would have been a good mum if she had babies sooner because she worked a lot and did not have a team strong enough to delegate to when she was 30. “I had to create a spirit, I had to create a world around me.”
Asked if she would want her daughters to become chefs she said : “I want them to be happy so I will support them in whatever they choose. I wouldn’t stop them being chefs but I would explain how difficult it is, because it is difficult, that’s a fact. I love what I do, my passion is my work but sometimes it’s tough, I must admit.”
Since opening the restaurant in London, she has divided her time between the two cities, creating her menus and developing teams that she can trust. The process of creating new dishes and writing the menus is something which the chef does not delegate and she finds inspiration in everything from her overseas travels to her daughters.
She will receive her award on 1 June when the World’s 50 Best restaurants for 2015 is announced.
Well done to Hélène. May she serve as inspiration to many parents who struggle to find work-life balance in today’s world.