Angela Hartnett: 'People assume all kitchens are manic. Half of them aren't that mad'


The secret of good Italian food is to keep it simple I used to help my gran cook supper when I was a kid, making things like aubergine Parmigiana. She always told me never to overcomplicate, to keep it seasonal and to buy the best quality you could afford.

Gordon Ramsay was a tough boss It's hysterical that other chefs compared his place [Aubergine, which Hartnett joined in 1994] to the Vietnam [War], but Gordon always thought that was giving the place a bit of a raw deal. Around then all [the London kitchens] worked hard hours. But it was Aubergine that was producing the best food in London and it was there that the chefs from the other kitchens went to eat.

Not every chef's kitchen is manic People assume that from TV shows, but half the kitchens in the capital aren't that mad. The real pressure is to serve something with consistency and in the time frame, but not in the manic way some programmes make out.

I've learnt from my mistakes In my early jobs anything I could screw up, I would – I once switched the freezer off and melted all the ice-cream, I over-cooked the crème brûlée… the list was endless!

You don't cook for your ego, you cook for your guests You look at what customers are searching for in a restaurant and examine how styles have changed: people want more relaxed dining experiences these days.

New restaurants can be successful whatever the financial climate Look at London now and how all the [good] restaurants are full. Maybe not the private dining-rooms, though, as expenses have been cut and people who work in the City don't need to come to the West End, as there's so much choice where they work.

I like food that involves sharing such as Japanese and Moroccan. Moro in Exmouth Market, London, is great, as they always have this delicious vegetable mezze.

I don't like sweet stuff I never had chocolate as a kid so if I want a quick food rush now I go for the salty option and break open a packet of crisps.

I think the Queen has served our country brilliantly so getting to meet her at Buckingham Palace when I got my MBE [in 2007, for services to the hospitality industry] was a beautiful honour for my family and it made me so proud.

We're so apathetic in this country People don't vote because we've got politicians who aren't inspiring us – they're more inspired by Barack Obama! That 15 per cent turnout at the recent police commissioner elections – well, I'm not surprised at all.

Angela Hartnett, 43, currently runs the Michelin-starred Murano, London W1 ( Her new restaurant, at the five-star Lime Wood Hotel, Hampshire (, opens in the new year. For more information:

ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power