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London's Iconic Savoy Grill Names First Female Head Chef In 126 Years

Kim Woodward worked as the restaurant's sous chef for two years.

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Kim Woodward.
Kim Woodward.
The Savoy Grill/Facebook

One of London's most iconic restaurants, the Savoy Grill, has hired its first female head chef ever. According to the Evening Standard, 34-year-old chef Kim Woodward is the first woman to run the Savoy Grill's kitchen in its 126-year history. The restaurant — which is now owned by shouty chef Gordon Ramsay — is where "prime ministers, captains of industry and show business luminaries have power-lunched for decades." Woodward, who was a Masterchef semifinalist in 2011, tells the Daily Telegraph: "To be the first [female chef] here in 126 years makes me feel like I'm writing history."

The chef notes that she doesn't plan to make too many changes to the the Savoy Grill's culinary traditions — many of which were created by the restaurant's first chef, French legend August Escoffier. Diners can continue to expect a daily roast trolley that serves dishes like Beef Wellington and Dover sole. The Omelette Arnold Bennett — an egg dish featuring smoked haddock and parmesan that was invented at the restaurant — will also remain on the menu. She does, however, plan to add desserts like a tonka bean and strawberry millefeuille to the dessert menu.

The Independent writes that Woodward has a history of working for Ramsay and the Savoy Grill. She was the restaurant's sous chef between 2010 and 2012 and left to run the kitchen at Ramsay's embattled gastropub York & Albany. In January, a judge ruled that Ramsay was personally liable for the $1.2 million annual rent owed on York & Albany's space.