Angela Hartnett OBE is quite the powerhouse in the hospitality industry. Not only has she cheffed all over the globe, she’s gained Michelin stars for two restaurants under her leadership, and been awarded an OBE for services to hospitality and the NHS.
Experience in kitchens around the world – from the UK to Barbados and Dubai – as well as in Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants has not only armed Hartnett with cheffing knowledge, but cultural understanding too.
It all started with her mum, and her Italian grandmother, with whom she learnt to cook with as a child. It’s clear that time in the kitchen with nonna paid off: today Harnett is the proud owner of one Michelin star restaurant, Murano in Mayfair (a Citizen Femme favourite) where she serves up her take on fine-dining Italian cuisine.
We speak to Hartnett about her influences, what it feels like to gain recognition in the form of an OBE and Michelin stars, plus the food and cooking gadgets that make her happy – and she shares her go-to place to shop for produce in London.
How did you first get into cooking?
Through my family: my Italian grandmother, and my mum is also a great cook.
You’ve worked in the UK, Barbados, and Dubai. Did you find any differences in working-style between the countries?
Yes, of course there are lots of cultural differences but it’s always fun to do, and a way to see and understand new places.
What are some of your childhood food memories?
I always used to cook with my mum – we made butterfly cakes together. I also chose cookery as one of the Brownie badges.
Who has influenced your cooking, and how?
My family background mostly, but also Gordon Ramsey who I worked with, had a huge influence on standards.
Your restaurant, Murano, opened in 2008 and quickly achieved a Michelin Star. How did this feel?
We had held one at the Connaught for five years, so they wanted to check that Murano held the same standard. It was incredible to get one so early into the restaurant’s life.
The food that makes you happiest and why?
A bowl of pasta always makes me feel good.
Favourite cooking gadget?
A microplane, for grating and shredding.
Where is your favourite place to shop for produce in London?
What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without?
How does travel influence your cooking?
A great deal. It’s one of my reasons to travel; I always like to see other food cultures.
Must-visit food cities include…
Tokyo and New York.
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What do you always avoid ordering on a menu?
Anything with coriander.
By contrast, must-order items on a menu include…
I would never be able to answer this, there are too many!
What is your go-to meal at home when you’re low on time?
A spicy tomato spaghetti.
Do you find cooking therapeutic?
Yes, both when I’m at home and at work.
Advice for women thinking about starting up a business in the food or restaurant industry?
I’d give the same advice to anyone: be the best in your chosen field, whether it’s pizza, three stars, or anything else.