Berkeley hotels

Northern Irish pair Clare Smyth and Paddy McKillen celebrated on London’s Best Food list

Two pioneers from Northern Ireland feature on an illustrious list of the most influential Irish hospitality professionals in London.

Clare Smyth, from County Antrim, and Paddy McKillen, from Belfast, are both on the Murphia 2022 list, which celebrates the UK capital’s most influential food and drink professionals in Ireland.

Smyth is one of the world’s leading luxury cooks and last January became the first female chef to run a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the UK.

She earned the Michelin Guide’s highest accolade within three years of opening Notting Hill-based Core by Clare Smyth.

The Bushmills-born woman has featured on Murphia’s esteemed list in previous years, but businessman Paddy McKillen is new to the eighth annual cohort.

He oversees the day-to-day management of three London hotels – Claridge’s, Berkeley and Connaught – all part of his Maybourne Hotel Group.

All have seen substantial changes over the past year.

The Berkeley welcomed the world’s best pastry chef, Cedric Grolet, while Claridge’s and Connaught launched new bars, respectively the Painter’s Room and the Red Room.

During the 1980s, McKillen built up a portfolio of prime assets – including retail properties, retail stores and shopping centers – in Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Limerick.

The 67-year-old left his war-torn home in west Belfast in 1972, aged 16, to work in the family business which became Ireland’s leading chain of garages and has was sold more than two decades later for 25 million euros.

Last summer he bought the luxurious Maybourne Riviera in the south of France, hoping to make it one of the world’s great hotels.

McKillen was nominated in the Behind the Scenes category, while Smyth was acclaimed in the Chefs section.

Names no longer on the Murphia list include Londonderry-born Shauna Froydenlund and her Great British Menu finalist husband Mark Froydenlund.

Both were longtime chefs at the Marcus Restaurant at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, but have since returned to Northern Ireland.

The Murphia List, compiled by Hot Dinners with support from the Irish Food Authority, Bord BIA, includes chefs, restaurateurs, beverage workers, reception staff, producers, operators and media and communications.