The Woman Behind The Chef: Angela Hartnett

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th January 2016

In association with

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In the build up to The Staff Canteen Live 2016 - Skillery supported by the Craft Guild of Chefs at Hotelympia 2016, we are taking a closer look at the chefs who will be joining us on stage. We dig a little deeper to find out what they are hiding under those chef whites - next up is Angela Hartnett.

Angela Hartnett is Chef Patron for Murano restaurant. A former protégée of Gordon Ramsay, Angela has appeared on several televison shows and was honoured with an MBE. The 47-year-old achieved her first Michelin star while she was chef-patron of Angela Hartnett at The Connaught it was during this time she received her MBE in 2007 for Services to the Hospitality Industry. 

Murano, MayfairAngela became the chef owner of Murano in October 2010 and opened Cafe Murano in St James's in 2013 along with Merchants Tavern. That same year Angela began working with Limewood Hotel and head chef Luke Holder at the Hartnett Holder & Co restaurant. A second Murano cafe opened in Covent Garden in 2015.

Why does someone with a history degree decide they want to be a chef?

Well I come from a family who owned businesses, not restaurants, my grandparents owned a fish and chip shop and my close family and friends also ran cafés, ice-cream parlours. I liked the idea of running my own business. I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I'd come to this level of doing anything like this. So I just fancied owning a business but I didn't want to start cooking at the age of 16, I wanted to get a degree and just spend a bit of time jerking around at college!

>>>Read more in the Behind The Chef series here

And you did come into the industry later didn't you?

Yes and I still don't regret that at all. Probably the one regret I have is that I'd love to have done a big kitchen like Le Gavroche where you did classic training, sometimes I judge Young Chef of the Year and there's always some classical thing involved and I'm like, "What the hell?" and all the other judges laugh so perhaps I feel I missed out there. But equally I'm smart enough and humble enough to go and buy the book, read about it and I think the worst thing is to try and pretend you know everything, far better to look it up and find out what the proper thing is.

At The Staff Canteen we want to see what makes chefs tick. We asked Angela a few questions about what she gets up to when not in the kitchen:

What would you rather order a starter or a pudding?

A starter.

What would your last meal be?

Anolini, Roast chicken, Gateau basque, cheese, Italian salsiccia.

What was the last thing you ate?

Neil's (Angela's partner) chicken soup, delicious!

If you weren't a chef what would you be?

A pathologist or a journalist but I don't think I'm smart enough.

If you could chose to dine in any restaurant in the world which would you choose?

Wow what a question it's more who I would eat with family friends....probably Tosca in Italy, a local restaurant I know I always have fab family celebrations there.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Idris Elba.

If someone was to write your biography what would it be called?

Sorry I am running late.

What do you listen to in the kitchen?

Radio 4.

What are you most proud of? 

Guys like Javi who walked in one day, worked for two years at Merchants Tavern and did not speak a word of English. Or Dermot who's done every section at Cafe Murano...Michele, started at a commis de rang at Cafe Murano (he was an asst manager in Naples), he improved his English and worked his way up to number 2 at Murano. And all the guys and girls that work for you and make it happen.

If you could own another chef's restaurant whose would you choose?

Seahorse in Devon, I love Mitch and Matt's ethos…my liver could not take it though.

Who would you trust to run your restaurant?

The same people who run them now, you need to trust and empower your teams.

Why did you choose to get involved with TSCLive?

I could not say no to Mark! (Director The Staff Canteen).

Visitors can go to www.hotelympia.com and register now for a free ticket to the show.

>>> Read more from The Staff Canteen Live 2016 at Hotelympia here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th January 2016

The Woman Behind The Chef: Angela Hartnett