Five minutes with… Clare Smyth

The Michelin-starred chef tells Brummell about art, food history, the importance of focusing on yourself and what she does to relax

Food and Drink 17 Nov 2017

Clare Smyth recently opened her first solo project, Core, in Notting Hill

Chef Clare Smyth

Who is your role model?

I always have to say Gordon [Ramsay] for this one. He is an incredibly driven human being and no matter what he does, he excels at it. And it’s not luck, it’s hard work. He’s a very serious human being behind everything he does. He always impresses me.

What ingredient can you not live without?

Vinegar. I love it. It balances acidity in lots of things. I use lots of different vinegars.

What item, apart from your passport, can you not travel without?

I’m not really that attached to anything. I do travel a lot and I have to stay connected to emails so I always need an iPad or a laptop.

Where is your favourite place to eat in London?

It’s very difficult to choose one place because it depends what you feel like. I would never go back constantly to one place. But there are little gems like Andrew Wong in Victoria, I love Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester for a really posh meal, and there’s this little Japanese place called The Araki just off Regent Street

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your career?

One that I pass on to people a lot is focus on you. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing around you. It’s so true in life. If you’re focusing on other people, you’re not even thinking what you’re doing.

What do you like to do on a day off?

Normally it’s walking the dog. That is actually a treat for me. Walking the dog in the park, a little bit of retail therapy and out for dinner is a good day for me.

Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?

I love fine wines, food philosophy and history. A lot of the things you see around Core are my personal belongings. All of it means something to me. I have a lot of historical cookbooks. I’d be happy for our guests to pick things up and take a look, like you would in someone’s home. I’m also a lover of art. I have two Marc Quinn pieces in the main dining room at Core, Labyrinth Emboss and Labyrinth Deboss. They are all about natural forms, human identity and surveillance culture, and all the questions we have. I really believe in popular culture and the time we live in.

Read Brummell’s review of Core here.