Following a week that has seen Nigella Lawson, Yotam Ottolenghi and Massimo Bottura issue pressure tests to the MasterChef Australia 2021 hopefuls, British chef Clare Smyth is handing out a mystery box challenge.
It’s been an intense superstar week on the popular cooking competition, one that has seen YoYo, Trent and Katrina all sent home. Now, the home cooks with their eyes on the $250,000 prize will need to whip up a delicious mystery box meal to stay in the game.
Smyth is an impressive addition to superstar week, as she holds the distinction of being the first British woman to win three Michelin stars for her Notting Hill, London restaurant Core. The culinary master was also named the World’s Best Female Chef at the 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurants and, just casually, cooked at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In addition to all of that, Core was the first restaurant to enter The Good Food Guide with a perfect score of 10 out of 10.
With a resume that extensive and impressive, the MasterChef contestants are sure to feel the pressure — a feeling Smyth is likely familiar with having worked at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV. In fact, Smyth was in a relationship with the famously ill-tempered Ramsay whom she still counts as her friend and mentor.
Smyth, who was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2013, has previously served as a guest judge on Netflix’s The Final Table and has also previously appeared on MasterChef Australia.
If you’re keen to experience Smyth’s epicurean sensibilities, you don’t have to fly all the way to the UK (which, obviously, you can’t do anyway) — you can just head to Crown Sydney where her restaurant Oncore is located.
According to the eatery’s website, Smyth said ahead of Oncore’s opening, “Crown Sydney is creating a world-class dining destination for the city, and I am thrilled to have my first Australian restaurant in this amazing location overlooking one of the most beautiful sites in the world.
“Having lived and travelled in Australia early on in my career, it feels like a home away from home and the perfect location for the restaurant.”
In a 2019 interview with Kitchen Rebel, Smyth described her chef style as “Creative, dedicated, and compulsively obsessed with details.”
She explained, “The older I get, the simpler my dishes get, and the stricter my standards get about preparing each individual product perfectly.”