Chef and Author
Originally from Australia, Skye Gyngell worked at a number of Sydney’s culinary institutions, before flying to Paris to complete her formal training under Anne Willan at La Varenne. After a stint at the Dodin-Bouffant, Skye moved to London to work at The French House and notably, The Dorchester with Anton Mossiman. Before setting up the Petersham Nurseries Cafe, Skye had been hidden from public view whilst working with a rota of high profile private clients.
As head chef of Petersham Nurseries Cafe, Skye worked almost exclusively with seasonal produce, creating simple food inspired by what she saw growing and flowering around her. The relatively short menu changed every week, comprising an average of five starters and five main course dishes plus cakes, ice creams & desserts. In season, she picked herbs, salads & fruit from the walled kitchen garden of Petersham House and used as much local produce as she could lay her hands on.
Before accepting Gael & Francesco Boglione’s offer to open a cafe at Petersham Nurseries, Skye had already written for Vogue. A phenomenal reception to her work at the restaurant, including comparisons by their award winning restaurant critic Terry Durack to the work of legendary cook Alice Walters, lead to her appointment as the Independent on Sunday’s food writer, a post she held for 5 years.
Skye’s first book “A year in my kitchen” was published by Quadrille in October 2006. This was named as Best Cookery Book at the 2007 Guild of Food Writers Awards. The sequel “My Favourite Ingredients” followed in 2008. Skye’s third title “How I Cook” published by Quadrille in 2010 was awarded Best UK Woman Chef Book by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2010. Skye’s most recent book, “Spring” was published by Quadrille in 2015, and it is a collection of seasonal recipes and a fascinating insight into the creation of her restaurant, Spring.
In October 2014, Skye opened her much-anticipated London restaurant, Spring. Located in the New Wing of Somerset House, Spring encompasses Skye’s signature style of cooking, led by seasonal ingredients. Alongside Spring, Skye is culinary director for luxury Hampshire hotel Heckfield Place, which opened in 2018.
Since January 2017, Skye has exercised the philosophy of cooking and eating with economy and grace at Spring Restaurant by incorporating the ‘Scratch Menu’. The menu is not designed to be fancy or complicated but to provide a delicious, nutritious meal by using ingredients that are often overlooked – think organic ingredients such as beetroot tops and potato skins turned into simple soups, a culinary treasure trove of pickled vegetables, their tops and stems, the trimmings from our house made pasta, baked with a ends of cheese or yesterday’s bread transformed into warm bread pudding served with a spoonful of jam made from last year’s gooseberry glut.
At the start of this 2018 Skye took this initiative further and announced plans for the restaurant to be single-use plastic free by 2019. Working closely with A Plastic Planet founder, Sian Sutherland, Skye has removed plastic straws, cling film and plastic lined ice cream cups from the restaurant.
Petersham Nurseries Cafe
Time Out Awards 2005
Winner Best Alfresco Restaurant
Tatler Restaurant Awards 2006
Winner Most Original Restaurant
Short-listed for Best Kitchen
Observer Food Monthly Awards 2006
Runner-up Best Sunday Lunch
Observer Food Monthly Awards 2008
Runner-up Best Sunday Lunch
The Hedonist guide to EAT LONDON 2008-2009
Number 1 restaurant “Worth the schlep
Michelin Guide 2011
Petersham Nurseries Cafe awarded one Michelin Star
Square Meal ‘Female Chef of the Year 2019’
The World’s 50 Best Restaurant
‘50 Best Discovery’ London list 2019 – Spring
London Restaurant Festival 2019 Awards
Guild of Food Writers Awards 2007
Best Cookery Book (for A Year in My Kitchen)
Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards 2007
Best Cook Book (for a Year in My Kitchen)
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2008
Best Woman Chef UK Cook Book (for My Favourite Ingredients)
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2010
Best Woman Chef Book (for How I Cook)