“It is the green shoots, the first signs of women getting to the top in very prominent kitchens," says editor Derek Bulmer. "If you go back ten years or so, there wouldn’t have been any women at all working in those kitchens.”
Among those making their debut in the new guide are Emily Watkins, head chef at The Kingham Plough in Chipping Norton, and Mayfair chefs Hélène Darroze, at the Connaught, Rachel Humphrey at Le Gavroche and Murano's Angela Hartnett.
They join last year's winners Rose Gray of the River Cafe, Morston Hall, North Norfolk and Frances Atkins who works her magic at the Yorke Arms in Pateley, North Yorkshire.
And it looks like outspoken celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, who once said: “There are huge numbers of young women out there who know how to mix cocktails but can’t cook to save their lives”, will be eating his words after the appointment of female head chefs at both his West London restaurant and Murano.
Claire Smyth, who started in October at his Royal Hospital Road eatery, has retained the restaurant's three Michelin stars – the highest accolade awarded.