Europe, UK, Ireland

This may be the world’s best potato

Farmer’s daughter from Northern Ireland, Clare Smyth parlayed the humble spud into a signature dish that puts her among the world’s top chefs with two Michelin stars to show for it. 

Clare Smyth is one of the world’s leading chefs. So what is the centerpiece of the menu at her two-Michelin-starred restaurant?

A potato.

The Charlotte spud is slow-cooked in a marinade of butter and seaweed, then allowed to marinate for another 24 hours before being topped with smoked trout and herring roe from Scotland and served with beurre blanc. It comes with miniature salt-and-vinegar crisps that cut through the richness of the butter and provide crunch for texture. It is called ‘Potato and roe’.

This signature dish at Core by Clare Smyth in London is both a homage to her childhood in Northern Ireland and a bold statement of her desire to combine sophisticated cooking with a simplicity of style.

Indeed, she is gaining recognition. Amid multiple accolades, she won two Michelin stars straight out last year, skipping the usual starter of one. She was named World’s Best Female Chef by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Smyth was raised on a farm on the north coast of Northern Ireland. It’s only 500 miles from London but a different world from the glamour of her restaurant, where the classic tasting menu costs £115 ($150) and the wine pairing another £105. 

“I grew up eating potatoes every single day with every meal, being Irish,” she says of her childhood in Bushmills, County Antrim. “So later, when we were in kitchens making pomme puree or whatever, I would eat a single boiled potato with salt and pepper on it before every service. It was my head chef, Jonny (Bone) who said, ‘Do you realize? We’ve got to do a potato dish.’ So we started to develop it.”

Read the full story on Bloomberg. Also: Richard Vines chats to Daybreak’s Hannah George about his meeting with Clare Smyth, and her journey from a farm in Northern Ireland to running a Michelin-starred London restaurant – go here.