‘I always try to tap my husband up for some nice jewellery’

Antrim-born Clare Smyth, owner of Core restaurant in London, which earned two Michelin stars this year, on her Christmas

Clare Smyth: “When I’d go home to my parents’ house for Christmas, they’d put the turkey in the oven at 6am and we’d eat it at 6pm.”

Clare Smyth: “When I’d go home to my parents’ house for Christmas, they’d put the turkey in the oven at 6am and we’d eat it at 6pm.”

 

Do you like Christmas?

I always look forward to it and this year, we’ve had a great year in Core. We’re really busy all the time, we’re in a better place than we were last year, and the team are stronger so we’ll enjoy our three or four days off. Christmas is great if you plan everything in advance and don’t leave everything until the last minute. It’s important to enjoy the build-up too.

What’s on your wish list?

I like jewellery and clothes – typical woman – so I always try to tap my husband up for some nice jewellery. I’d like a cocktail ring this year, with a big sapphire or pale blue stone in it. Presents like that are expensive but they’re always worth what you pay. It’s something you collect during your life.

How will you spend the day?

This Christmas, I’ll be spending it at home in London with my husband, my sister, her husband and their little baby, who’s coming up to a year old. My cooking advice would be to do as much as possible in advance and don’t try any crazy dishes. I’m quite traditional; I’d have things like smoked salmon, terrines and pâté during the day – and Champagne for breakfast.

I’m also toying with getting the Core team to cook for a charity. As you get older, you realise you don’t need a lot of stuff and you want to do something worthwhile, so cooking for a charity is a nice thing to do. Last month, I judged a barbecue for Grenfell and last year when Core opened, we bought gifts for children but we couldn’t go and cook.

Memorable Christmas incidents?

When I’d go home to my parents’ house for Christmas, they’d put the turkey in the oven at 6am and we’d eat it at 6pm, so I’d tease them that it was so dry it soaked up the gravy like a sponge. And then I’d go back to work in a three-Michelin starred restaurant!