Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland chef serves up a treat for Harry and Meghan wedding guests

By Staff Reporter

A chef from Northern Ireland got the royal seal when she prepared a sit-down dinner for the select 200 guests at the wedding of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Culinary star Clare Smyth (39) - owner of Core in west London's affluent Notting Hill - served up a meal for those invited to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's evening reception at Frogmore House, which was hosted by the Prince of Wales.

Clare, who grew up on a farm near Bushmills, was the first and only female chef in the UK to hold three Michelin stars, for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London's Chelsea district.

Leaving Northern Ireland at the age of 16, Clare worked in some of the most celebrated kitchens in the world, including Alain Ducasse's renowned Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo.

She worked with top chef Ramsay for more than 13 years before opening her own modern fine dining restaurant last year where dinner can cost £150 a head.

Frogmore House was the chosen evening venue for the royal couple's night-time celebration attended by family members and close friends, including George Clooney and wife Amal, tennis ace Serena Williams plus Meghan's best friend Jessica Mulroney and her husband Ben.

As the guests sipped on cocktails and Champagne, chef Clare served up a mouth-watering menu which included 'posh burgers' and pork belly while those with a sweet tooth tucked into candy floss.

Clare was not allowed to comment on the event but BBC Radio Ulster chef Paula McIntyre, who also comes from a farming background, previously met Clare back in 2004 while on a three-week placement in one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants.

"Even back then Clare was driven and appeared really dedicated.

"By that stage she was senior sous chef in a three-star Michelin restaurant and she wasn't even 30 years old, which was pretty amazing.

"She has put 100% into everything she has done and it's great to see someone from Northern Ireland doing so well. There is no bigger gig than a royal wedding and I'm sure Clare gave it her all."

In April, Clare became the first British woman to win the Elit Vodka World's Best Female Chef Award 2018.

She said: "I spent 15 years of my life in three-Michelin-starred restaurants and I trained to be the best I could be.

"It didn't just happen, it wasn't magic, I put in the work. I stood shoulder to shoulder with men in the toughest kitchens in the world and excelled and loved it."

Clare was honoured with an MBE in 2013 for services to the hospitality industry.

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