Painting Above : Gordon Ramsey at work in his flagship 3 Michelin star restaurant, Gordon Ramsey at Royal Hospital Road
This series has already gained a great deal of publicity with Henrietta’s portrait of James Martin being selected for the prestigious BP Portrait award at The National Portrait Gallery in London in 2014.
The development of cuisine in Britain is unmatched, and we are living it. There are those who describe it as the world’s most remarkable food revolution. Others say it as an evolution of food culture which spans several decades. Revolution or evolution, it doesn’t really matter – gourmets and connoisseurs from all corners of the globe tend to agree that London is now the heart of Europe’s restaurant scene.
While Britain was once ridiculed for its cuisine, today it is the place where many chefs have achieved global recognition as masters of their craft. Where once it was almost unheard of to dine out – your choice would have been mostly restricted to a grand hotel – today the choice seems limitless. Through innovation and dedication, our chefs today have re-shaped the history of Britain’s restaurants.
Henrietta is working on a series of paintings that celebrate the men and women who have enriched our social culture, and brought so much energy and vibrant colour to what was once the drab British food scene. The artists of the kitchen are now themselves painted: they are the subject of oil-on-canvas portraits by Henrietta Graham.
Over a number of years, Henrietta has travelled Britain, from restaurant to restaurant, meeting chefs, sketching and photographing them, before painting their portraits. There have been some fifty sitters, and the majority of them preside over Michelin-starred restaurants. Henrietta’s subjects include the pioneers who crossed the Channel – men such as Albert Roux, Anton Mosimann, Raymond Blanc, and Pierre Koffmann. There are the passionate extroverts such as Sat Bains, Richard Corrigan, as well as the chefs who have forged restaurant empires, including Jason Atherton and Mark Hix.
Henrietta has also turned her attention to the television chefs, such as Gary Rhodes, Ken Hom who, in the 80s, introduced the wok via the small screen, and James Martin, the presenter of BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen. Women are represented by Angela Hartnett and Clare Smyth, the first and only British woman to hold three Michelin stars (at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, where she is chef patron . . . Meanwhile, Gordon Ramsay was the first to sit for Henrietta).