Daniela Gattegno, head chef, Jacob the Angel

The Staff Canteen

Daniela Gattegno discusses her role as head chef of Jacob the Angel and her own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a chef.

Name: Daniela Gattegno

Role: Head chef

Location: Jacob the Angel

Bio: After she completed her Masters studying in Developmental Biology at Edinburgh University Daniela Gattegno changed her career massively by going into cooking and trying her hand at being a chef. 

coffee and walnut
coffee and walnut

Chef Skills

Daniela Gattegno takes us through her personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How did you get into cooking?

I was studying stem-cell biology at Edinburgh University before going on to complete a three-year research fellowship. I wasn’t enjoying my job, and after looking at doing everything from floristry to photography, I decided that the one thing that made me really happy was cooking. In 2011, I enrolled in a six-month intense cookery diploma at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School. I did a series of stages starting at Oloroso with Tony Singh, followed by two weeks at Castle Terrace and then two months at Café St Honoré. After these stages, I realised that the Edinburgh restaurant scene was more Michelin-focused, and this wasn’t the direction I wanted to take. I moved to London looking for a permanent position, where I started as a chef de partie at Ottolenghi in Notting Hill for a year before moving to their Islington site for six months. I then went on to Moro for eighteen months before going on to head up the kitchen at their new site, Morito, in Hackney. In October 2016, I became sous-chef at The Barbary, before taking on the role of head chef at Jacob the Angel earlier this year.

Do you think there was enough advice available when you were starting out?

No. At school, they don’t tend to push creative careers, or tell you that being a chef is a viable option.  Also, I don’t think that cookery school is very accessible for many people, as they are so expensive. 

What are your ultimate top five tips for someone looking to start a career in the hospitality sector? 

  1. Do a stage in a kitchen. You need to see if you actually enjoy working in that environment, and what type of food you like making.
  2. Eat a lot of different food for the same reasons. It’s also great to eat out and see what other people are doing.
  3. Read about food as much as you can.
  4. Teach yourself to be organised and clean, as these are two of the most important things a chef can be. 
  5. As a woman, don't be intimidated by the male-dominant kitchens.

What are you looking for on a CV or in an interview if someone was applying for a position with you?

For me, it’s more about the person than their CV.  If someone is inexperienced you can teach them to cook. You can tell if someone has natural talent nine times out of ten.

If you could go back and tell yourself one piece of advice, knowing what you now know, what would it be?

Don't take things too seriously!

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st December 2017

Daniela Gattegno, head chef, Jacob the Angel