Recognise her face? That’s because Marianne Lumb was one of three finalists on BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals series in 2009. Charming, good-humoured and all-round nice girl of the show, she might have won over Michel Roux Jr and Gregg Wallace, however, Marianne nearly never made it to a career in the kitchen. Instead, she first chose a career as an architect, but dropped her pencil in favour of a knife, later training at the one Michelin star Gravetye Manor, West Sussex.

Following success in recent years as a private chef, Marianne has brought her culinary flair to west London, opening her first restaurant, the self-titled ‘Marianne’, in September.

Marianne is using her experience as a private chef to create an intimate dinner party-like feel for her guests. This shouldn’t be a problem, considering that the restaurant will seat just 14—that’s just five tables, set to be the smallest fine-dining restaurant in London. Offering a cosy take on haute cuisine, each precious dish will focus on the ingredients, all of which will be seasonal.

The team at Marianne is as intimate as the restaurant itself, with one kitchen assistant and one front of house staff. The similarities to cooking as a private chef don’t end there. Marianne—whose former high-profile clients include Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford, who regularly appear on The Sunday Times’ annual Rich List—has worked with Godrich Interiors, to bring to life her vision of having a personal chef in the dining room of one’s own home. Including vintage wall lights and a soft feminine colour palette of sage green and a lovely soft nougat pink for the chairs.

The menu (from £30 at lunch and £48 at dinner for three courses) changes daily—giving Marianne the freedom to show off her creativity, with stylish and seasonal offerings such as soufflé of courgette with Gruyère Alpage and Montgomery cheddar, Globe artichoke and olive oil purée with dressed Cornish crab and the sweetly-sounding white peaches poached in rose and lavender with nougat ice cream.

The wine list is not to be scoffed at, either. Created with the help of Tom Lorimer, of Lea & Sandeman; it reflects current trends and demands in wine, offering bins such as the Kentish sparkling Nyetimber and the Hampshire variety, Coates & Seely Rosé Brut NV.

As the trend for smaller restaurants and intimate dining experiences grow, it’s likely that Marianne’s popularity will, too.

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