Britain has its fair share of celebrity chefs, and it’s not unlikely that you’ve already seen or heard of them. Their stories are diverse, their presence indelible and their restaurants popular. So here’s a brief round-up of some of the very best British chefs.
Gordon James Ramsay
We wanted to talk about Mr. Ramsay right away because he’s probably one of the most recognizable celebrity chefs in Britain and the world. It’s his blunt attitude toward life in the kitchen and the way he reacts that has garnered him much attention, but that’s not to underplay his recognized talents in preparing excellent tastes (the man has 15 Michelin star awards!). What you might not have known about him is that he was a footballer before accidentally becoming a chef when he found more of an inclination toward the kitchen than the pitch.
Fergus’ is a fairytale story. Like several of Britain’s top chefs, he never received any formal, institutional training in the culinary arts. Instead, he studied architecture, which is what was expected of him. Later, he finally allowed his passion for food to take over, and now he sports two London restaurants that serve up traditional British fare: St John restaurant and St. John Bread and Wine.
Britain, and especially London, is dotted with the culinary expression of the Indian diaspora. As such, you can’t have a list of the best British chefs without taking into account the best Indian chef in Britain. Atul takes the cake, as far as most are concerned. He was the first Indian to receive a Michelin star for modern Indian cuisine, and continues to impress with his restaurant Benares.
If it’s important to diversify your foodie portfolio, then Michel Roux is to be recognized for his accomplishments. He does a lot of chef consultancy, has written several cookbooks and still manages to run a 2-star Michelin restaurant called Le Gavroche. As you might have guessed from his name, he’s a Frenchman—but with much of Britain’s undeniable cultural identity being intertwined with the mainland, it would seem unfit not to include the best French chef in Britain.
Another face that should be familiar to you is that of Mr. Rhodes. He has made a name for himself as a professional chef, having begun as a sous chef and risen the ranks to now own 4 restaurants on the island. His celebrity has allowed for his own line of cookware and bread mixes to complement his other culinary projects.
Heston Marc Blumenthal
Many would say that the best British chef is Heston, universally recognizable for his characteristic thick-rimmed glasses. His is another fairytale story of creating a reputation from nothing. That is, he never trained as a chef and instead developed a passion for cooking that saw his establishment of The Fat Duck—his first restaurant that has since been awarded 3 Michelin stars.
These are some of the more popular British chefs on the island—but who knows where other, undiscovered chefs are creating wonders. Have you heard of any others?