Hélène Darroze was born in The Landes, a region of southwestern France below Bordeaux, it seemed Hélène was destined to be a chef. Her family owned a renowned restaurant, and she spent her early years absorbing the hospitality lifestyle without even knowing it.
“Apparently I cooked my first apple tart when I was six, although I can’t remember it very well,’ she says. ‘I was always baking cakes as a child, and whenever my parents had company, I would do the pastry. I loved the energy in the kitchen at my family’s restaurant, especially in the mornings when the producers, farmers and fishermen would come to the back door with their ingredients. I was so curious about everything.”
Still not determined to devote herself to cooking, she begins an academic path– “I was always a good student, so I studied business and then went onto university, as that was what was expected of me. I never really thought about being a chef. That was more expected of my brother – but after finishing at university I got a job working as an assistant to Alain Ducasse at Le Louis XV in Monaco.”
Destined to be a successful chef
After a first return home to her parents, Hélène decided to move to Paris to open Restaurant Hélène Darroze. Success came quickly; her first star was awarded in 2001, with a second soon after in 2003. After a few years he arrives in London opening Hélène Darroze at The Connaught Hotel becoming well-known in all UK.
I always try to learn and learn new techniques as much as possible
“My first international influences came from Italy during my time with Alain Ducasse, as we were so close to the country, and I spent lots of time there too. But then I started going further afield to places like India. I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like. Whenever I do I try to learn and pick up new techniques as much as possible”
As a result, Hélène’s cooking offers a truly unique interpretation of French fine dining, with international ingredients and flavours accentuating incredible produce (which she has always prioritised over everything else). While France will always be her home, London has acquired a world-class restaurant thanks to Hélène’s tie-in at The Connaught – and as fans of fine food, we can’t thank her enough.
By reinventing 4 rue d’Assas, I wanted to get closer to my roots, to focus on the essentials. My producers who have always inspired me, the right and true product, the recipes that sublimate without cheating… instinctive of tastes and stories …
By reinventing 4 rue d’Assas, I wanted to synthesize my knowledge and give meaning to my dreams by imagining new gastronomic experiences, as demanding as they are lively … An open kitchen, a chef’s table, a cellar apparent, spontaneous and shared tasting… so many moments to experience, pleasures to discover and tastes to pass on.
By reinventing 4 rue d’Assas, I decided to pay homage to Marsan, the cradle of my family, the place where I was born and where it all began. Welcome to my home. “