The hospitality field has long been dominated by men, and the most recent count shows that women represent just 17 percent of professional chefs working in the UK. However, as we take a closer look at our favourite women-led restaurants in London, things are looking up, with more and more women making a name for themselves in London’s brilliant dining industry.
This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating the talented women behind our favourite female-fronted restaurants. From female chefs to founders, these are the most exciting women-led eateries to support now (and always).
Angela Hartnett, Murano
Michelin starred food and a warm, welcoming atmosphere characterise this delightful Italian restaurant from Angela Hartnett.
It’s one of the few restaurants to hold 4 AA rosettes, and has a women-led team across the board, from Laura Harris as Restaurant Director, to Em Brightman as Head Chef.
WHERE: 20 QUEEN ST, LONDON W1J 5PP
Florence Knight, Sessions Arts Club
One of the most stylish restaurant openings of 2021, Farringdon’s Sessions Arts Club has got you covered for brilliant food in a stunning space.
Led by chef Florence Knight (formerly of Polpetto), the fantastic food is Italian and French leaning, with a focus on sustainability.
WHERE: OLD SESSIONS HOUSE, 24 CLERKENWELL GRN, LONDON EC1R 0NA, UNITED KINGDOM
Nokx Majozi, The Pie Room
The Pie Room is the ultimate spot for comfort-food lovers who also enjoy a little bit of luxury. Located within The Holborn Dining Room in The Rosewood, you’ll fall in love with the setting as soon as you walk in, but it’s the beautifully crafted pies from the restaurant’s iconic Pie Room that will keep you coming back for more. Head Pie Maker Nokx Majozi is at the helm of the institution, which makes over 200 pies every day. Having taken over the reins in 2022, she has plans to weave some South African influence into the menu, whilst still respecting the traditional British pie, and we’re already itching to go back and try some more of her creations.
Luckily, The Pie Hole is re-opening this week, which means busy Londoners can order and collect these savoury delicacies directly from The Pie Room’s handy street-side hatch.
WHERE: 252 HIGH HOLBORN, LONDON WC1V 7EN
Adejoké Bakare, Chishuru
Originally a supper club, Chishuru became a permanent fixture in Brixton when Adejoké Bakare won the amateur category of 2019’s Brixton Kitchen competition and she landed herself a spot on Market Row.
The restaurant boasts a modern West African menu, blending age-old recipes with modern flavour. The restaurant is currently closed ahead of a new site opening in summer 2023 and we can’t wait to visit.
WHERE: UNIT 9 MARKET ROW, COLDHARBOUR LN, LONDON SW9 8LB
Clare Smyth, Core by Clare Smyth
One of the most recognised female chefs in the industry, Clare Smyth was the UK’s first female chef to win three Michelin stars, catered Harry and Megan’s wedding, and cooked 600 meals a week for charities and local hospitals during the first lockdown.
Core is her multi award winning restaurant in Notting Hill, where the fine dining menu is as elegant as it is photogenic. With beautifully crafted dishes with an emphasis on natural, sustainable, artisanal food, it’s a must-visit for anyone who appreciates exciting, delicious and impeccably crafted food.
WHERE: 92 KENSINGTON PARK RD, LONDON W11 2PN
Sally Abé, The Pem
Sally Abé oversees the food and drink offering at The Pem, serving divine dishes with exceptional flavour, made from the freshest produce, and an intriguing wine list. The restaurant is named after suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, known as ‘Pem’, channeling the same dedication, commitment, passion and care into the food.
A women-led establishment through and through, Sally’s hand-picked team of women includes Michelin-trained Head Chef Laetizia Keating and restaurant manager Maciej Lesiewicz.
WHERE: 22-28 BROADWAY, LONDON SW1H 0BH
By The Handbook