Caterer to Harry and Meghan courting controversy with Sydney restaurant 

One of the UK’s most famous chefs is set to hit the big time down under with a new restaurant project in Sydney. However, as part of the new crown casino development, Clare Smyth’s new establishment is not one that is being welcomed by everyone. 

Sydney’s second casino

Casino gaming is as popular in Australia as it is across the rest of the globe. The profile of casino games has only increased in the online age, however recent changes in legislation mean that Australian online casinos have all but disappeared from the internet. The hard line being taken to discourage gambling online is at odds with most of the western world, especially the USA, where rules are being relaxed in many states. 

However, many Australians have expressed concern that making casinos and sports betting too easily accessible could lead to gambling addiction problems. It’s a topic that has attracted plenty of discussion in the Australian press. It also makes the timing for the opening of the Crown Casino complex all the more controversial. 

The 75-floor tower will make the casino the tallest building in Sydney, and in addition to the gaming facilities, it will host a spa and 14 different restaurants. The owners are hoping their announcement that one of these will be in the hands of Gordon Ramsay’s most famous understudy will deflect attention from some of the tawdry allegations of corruption and money laundering that have so far attached themselves to the project.

Who is Clare Smyth?

Clare Smyth is, herself, seen at catering royalty in food circles. After serving an apprenticeship at Grayshott Hall, she really made a name for herself at Terence Conran’s famous restaurant at Michelin House in Fulham. After a brief stint in Australia, Smyth returned to the UK and worked her way up to a Head Chef role at the acclaimed St Endoc Hotel in Cornwall. Here, she won her first major culinary award at the age of just 22.

This brought her to the attention of Gordon Ramsay, and after joining him in 2002, she was elevated to Head Chef within five years – the first female chef in the UK to run a three Michelin starred restaurant. 

Over the past decade, Smyth has received numerous other accolades, including an MBE in 2013. She opened her own restaurant, Core by Clare Smyth, in 2016. The restaurant gained numerous positive reviews and played a major role in her being voted the world’s best female chef in 2018. This was the same year that she took on the most high-pressure catering job of them all, when she was chosen ahead of Jamie Oliver to provide the catering for Harry and Meghan’s wedding. 

Opening next year

With its unique views across the harbour, Crown Sydney is likely to become one of the most fashionable destinations, even among those who disapprove of gambling. Attracting a big name celebrity chef will help the Crown Casino to establish the right kind of reputation, and right now, the names don’t get much bigger than Clare Smyth. 

She told the Crown website: “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.” Her new eatery is due to open in February 2021, just weeks after the casino’s scheduled launch in December.

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