Core by Clare Smyth triumphs at GQ Food & Drink Awards 2018: A chat with the chefs
Last night, GQ magazine’s 4th Annual Food and Drink Awards paid tribute, yet again, to the brightest talent in the British culinary world. Presented by Veuve Clicquot, the celebration enlisted the help of a panel of expert judges – consisting of revered chefs, acclaimed writers, an award-winning mixologist and a few seasoned diners – to select 12 outstanding winners, each of whom were honoured with an engraved Waterford Crystal ice-bucket.
Clare Smyth, the celebrated chef who used to run three-Michelin-star Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, won the most coveted prize of the night, the Best Restaurant award for Core – which only opened eight months ago. We had the opportunity to speak with the Irish chef right after her crowning.
The ceremony was hosted by television presenter Claudia Winkleman, and entertained a variety of notable names from the food and drink industry – including Jason Atherton, Tara Bernerd, Mark Birchall, Ryan Chetiyawardana, Richard Corrigan, Jasmine Hemsley, Melissa Hemsley, Mark Hix, Matt Hobbs, Dylan Jones, Tom Kerridge, Giorgio Locatelli, Jamie Oliver, Oliver Peyton, Ruth Rogers and Bertrand Steip. Atherton – who presented the Breakthrough Award – shared with us his view on the current British (and London) food scene, as well as his role as principal patron for charity Hospitality Action.
Upon arrival, those in attendance were furnished with Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut and Belvedere Diamond Rye Back cocktails. Canapés on offer included Crispy Polenta with Mozzarella and Sun-Blushed Tomato Pesto, Croustades with Hot-Smoked Salmon, Lobster Tart with Pecorino Foam, Crispy Duck Brioche Rolls, Seared Beef Fillet and Gnocchi Summer Squash. Following the ceremony, guests were served Veuve Clicquot Rosé and Belvedere Remember the Grain cocktails, as well as indulging their sweet tooth with Berry Violet Lollipops and Frasier Tartlets.
The winners of the 2018 GQ Food and Drinks Awards were as follows:
BEST RESTAURANT – Core by Clare Smyth, London
“Core is vibrant and elegant, not pompous. There are no tablecloths, but there is luxury.”
BEST CHEF – Paul Ainsworth at No 6, Padstow
“One of the UK’s most talented young chefs. His cuisine is both an original and modern take on classic British using only first-class seasonal ingredients.”
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT – Ruth Rogers
“It has been 30 years since Ruth Rogers opened one of the city’s most iconic restaurants with her late business partner, Rose Gray. Famously intended as the canteen for Richard Rogers’ architectural practice, The River Café has built its reputation by serving flawlessly simple, seasonal Italian food bursting with authentic flavours – and the ingredients are still at the centre of everything Rogers does.”
BEST INTERIOR – Bob Bob Ricard, London
“Bob Bob Ricard’s interior design successfully combines classic London luxury with touches of wit and playfulness.”
BELVEDERE BEST BAR – Swift, London
“A dream-team collaboration from the people who brought us Oriole and Milk and Honey, Swift is the bar with a split personality.”
BEST BREAKTHROUGH – Moor Hall, Lancashire
“Awarded a Michelin star in its first year of business, you know it’s the start of much more to come.”
BEST RESTAURATEUR – Karam, Sunaina and Jyotin Sethi of JKS Restaurants
“London’s food scene is currently feeling the warmth of a bit of sibling love supplied with vigour by the Sethis.”
BEST FRONT OF HOUSE – Sandia Chang at Bubbledogs, London
Chang has won the adoration of judge Ryan Chetiyawardana, who praises her “encyclopedic knowledge” and “understanding of how important fun is when dealing with world-class offerings.”
BEST PUB – The Fuzzy Duck, Warwickshire
“Welcoming families, including four-legged friends, since 2013, this pub has been transformed from a boarded-up boozer to a cosy combination of exposed beams, roaring fireplaces and hearty food.”
BEST SOMMELIER – Sonal Clare at Purnell’s, Birmingham
“Clare is a wonderful representative of everything that a true sommelier should be.”
BEST HOTEL – The Ned, London
“The Ned has created a benchmark for hotels and there is nothing else quite like it.”
BEST OVERALL EXPERIENCE – L’Enclume, Cumbria
“L’Enclume is more than just food; it is an exemplar of local sourcing and creativity. If mindful dining exists, this is it.”
VEUVE CLICQUOT INNOVATOR AWARD – Soho House Group
“As diverse and far-reaching as the rapidly expanding empire has become, their mission has remained the same: to provide a home from home for their members.”
Representing Story and The Frog Group respectively, chefs Tom Sellers and Adam Handling stopped for a quick chat with us about their new menus and upcoming projects.
The editorial unit
Photo/video: Filippo L’Astorina
For further information about the GQ Food & Drinks Awards 2018 visit their website here.