Clare Smyth, 37, who has held three Michelin stars at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea since her appointment as head chef in 2007, said she is “seeking a new location in London to set up an independent restaurant.”
She added: “Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has been a big part of my life. I have a great fondness for the restaurant and the team, it has formed me into the chef that I am today and I am grateful for the opportunities it has given me. I also remain ambitious and want to build on my success.
“The natural way to do that is by opening my own restaurant and, with Gordon’s blessing and support, I am excited to embark on this new chapter. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has always been a melting pot for amazing talent and it continues to grow and produce some of the finest chefs in the UK.”
She is the latest in a string of big name protegees of the “Kitchen Nightmares” star to emerge from his stable and start their own businesses following Marcus Wareing, Jason Atherton and Angela Hartnett.
The Northern Ireland born chef, who left home for catering college in England the day after she finished school, first worked at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in 2002.
She spent two years in Monte Carlo and America before returning to run the kitchen at the age of just 29. She has spent 11 years there in total and will be succeeded by Matt Abe who has been head chef for the past two years.
Ms Smyth said: “Matt Abe has been working by my side for the last six years – he has real passion and an incredible work ethic and deserves this opportunity to shine.”
Gordon Ramsay said: “It’s been fantastic watching Clare develop. She is undoubtedly one of the greatest chefs to have graced my kitchen and has now become the most prominent female chef of our generation. It’s the right time for her to take this next step and I am thrilled to be supporting her new venture. I am also delighted that Matt Abe will now be at the forefront of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. He is an incredibly talented young chef and I have no doubt he will rise to the occasion.”
The new restaurant is scheduled to open in Autumn 2016 and in the meantime Clare will continue to act as a consultant for the Gordon Ramsay Group.