Clare Smyth

The 29-year-old from Northern Ireland was appointed head chef of the three-starred Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea last year after cooking at Le Louis XV in Monaco and Heston's Fat Duck. Ramsay says she has a tunnel vision for perfection

Anna Hansen

After three years in the planning, later this summer the New Zealander once better known as Peter Gordon's partner in all things fusion will open The Modern Pantry, a shop/cafe/wine bar/restaurant in St John's Square, Clerkenwell

Thomasina Miers

Since winning Masterchef in 2005, Miers has been a busy girl, with two cookbooks, a stint with Skye Gyngell at Petersham Nurseries, and two popular TV series, Wild Gourmets and A Cook's Tour of Spain. Last year she opened Wahaca in Covent Garden, serving Mexican market food

Maria Elia

Elia grew up watching her Greek-Cypriot father cook in the family restaurant. For 10 years she was head chef at Delfina, Bermondsey, where she received enthusiastic reviews. She plans to open Love Life Stories, a fine-dining vegetarian restaurant in east London in October.

Helena Puolakka

The Finnish-born Puolakka first caught the eye as head chef of La Tante Claire. After cooking at Sonny's in Barnes and the Fifth Floor restaurant at Harvey Nichols, she launched the Skylon restaurant at the Royal Festival Hall.

Angela Hartnett

One of Ramsay's most trusted generals, Hartnett has cooked for the tousled-haired one since his days at Aubergine. She launched his restaurants in Glasgow and Dubai before returning to London to take over at The Connaught, where she gained a Michelin star. This year, she takes on two new ventures, first as head chef of the York and Albany Hotel near Regent's Park, then opening her own Italian, Murano,in Mayfair.

Lisa Allen

A Lancastrian, it seems fitting that the 27-year-old should be head chef of Blackburn's Northcote Manor. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a showcase for the best Lancashire has to offer. Allen has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Roux Scholarship and was recently named Best Chef in the 2008 Northern Hospitality Awards.

Fiona Were

The New Zealand-trained chef must have a weakness for sea views. In 2006, after working as training and development chef at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen on Cornwall's Watergate Bay, she became executive chef at Falmouth's luxurious St Michael's Hotel, before moving on to the equally scenic Cove, just down the road.

Sue Ellis

Yet another to have worked with Ramsay, Ellis had spells at Royal Hospital Road and Thomas Keller's French Laundry, before joining Belle House in Pershore, where she has won a Caterer and Hotelkeeper Acorn Award, as well as the Worcester Chef of the Year Award.

Skye Gyngell

Our own ex-Sydneysider worked with Fergus Henderson and Anton Mosimann before setting up shop in a little café in the middle of a garden nursery serving fresh and seasonal food. Today, Petersham Nurseries is London's favourite lunchtime destination. TD