With as many Michelin stars as she has restaurants (three), Hélène Darroze has made a name for herself not only as one of the best female chefs in the world, but one of the best chefs, period. Born in France to a family of restaurateurs, Hélène has been surrounded by the culinary arts since she was old enough to walk. After graduating from college with a business degree in 1992, Hélène went to work for legendary chef Alain Ducasse at Le Louis XV in Monaco. Although Hélène was originally only an office worker, Ducasse persuaded her to join his kitchen crew, knowing her family history would make her a valuable addition to his team.
After three years working under Ducasse, Hélène returned home to work in her family’s restaurant kitchen, where she helped it maintain its Michelin star. Hélène’s first restaurant, Hélène Darroze, opened in 1999, and won her first Michelin star in 2001 (and a second, subsequently lost, in 2003). In 2008, Hélène took the reins at The Connaught in London, and though her initial performance was panned by critics, she recovered beautifully, earning a Michelin star for the restaurant in 2009 and a second star in 2011.
In addition to her accomplishments in the kitchen, Hélène was also the inspiration for the character Colette in the movie “Ratatouille,” and in 2012, Hélène also earned a knighthood in the French Legion of Honour.
Specialties & Resources
Hélène’s background and subsequent training with Alain Ducasse have cemented in her a mastery of traditional French cuisine, while her experience in multiple kitchens has also given her a flair for creating inventive dishes. At Hélène Darroze, the menu reflects her traditional training as well as her creative approach to cooking.
Offerings include imperial caviar with crab, potato and crème fraiche; summer minestrone with parmigiano-reggiano and manni olive oil; langoustine with spring onion, coriander, enoki, and “Retour d’Hanoi”; calamari with chorizo, samphire and parmigiano-reggiano; scallops with cauliflower, parsley, hazelnut and pink garlic; brill with bouchot mussel, coco bean and seaweed; oysters with courgette, tomato and artichoke; lamb with tandoori, carrot, citrus and coriander; wagyu beef with black truffle, potato and oxtail; grouse with foie gras, cep, turnip and Manuka honey; and summer berries with blackberry and lemon thyme.
At Hélène Darroze in Paris, the menu includes a champagne aperitif with little salted pieces and a 5-to-6-course gastronomic menu focused on pairings. Items include lobster with tandoori, carrot, citrus and fresh coriander; pigeon with beetroot, plum, blackberry and mole; piglet with roscoff onions, capers, and anchovy; boletus with egg, parsley, and Colonnata lard; and smoked eel with black garlic and sage.