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Image / Editorial

Off to Taste Dublin? London-based Irish chef Anna Haugh will be there


by Meg Walker
04th Jun 2018
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It’s time to get excited again for Taste of Dublin, the highlight of every foodie’s summer. Set in the beautiful Iveagh Gardens, from the 14th to the 17th of June, it’s a must-visit festival for the best of Irish food and drink. This year’s event promises to be a food lover’s playground, with surprising delights from an entirely pink menu to cocktails served atop a wooden tram. With world-class chefs, top restaurants and over 120 masterclasses at the event, there’s a jam-packed schedule.

We like our readers to enjoy everything we’re excited about. So with that in mind, we have 50 Taste tickets to giveaway for Friday and another 50 to giveaway for Saturday. All you have to do? Comment on our Facebook post telling us who you would bring and why.

London-based Irish chef Anna Haugh, who will be at Taste Dublin this weekend, chats below about the highs and lows of a chef’s career, and why she’s finally setting up her own venture.

What I’ve been up to the last six months
I left London’s Bob Bob Ricard in November; it was a lovely job, but wanting to do my own thing and cook the food I’m passionate about – now was the best time. I just finished the third series of Royal Recipes with Michael Buerk and Paul Ainsworth, which aired ahead of the Royal Wedding. And I’ve been trying to find sites for a restaurant in London. Fingers crossed it’ll happen before Christmas. Marianna Toro will be my front of house. We worked together in Gordon Ramsay’s London House. She’s strong, intelligent, and extremely talented, so I couldn’t think of anybody I’d want on the floor but her. The food will be modern European with an Irish influence.

Career highlights
Every job I’ve had has been a highlight. The talent that was in L’Ecrivain – that was the first place I worked in… Shane Osborn definitely had an influence on me; he had a power when it came to flavours and chemistry, but also the logical magic behind food – why you cook certain foods together… Each kitchen I’ve worked in has taught me something. You learn about the brand and the system and every detail that goes into a business – it’s so much more than just cooking delicious food.

Challenges
When I first came to London, I missed home and my friends. At the beginning, you’re working like a dog; all your money goes on rent. It’s lonely. It’s tempting to just go home, but I came here because I wanted to become the? best version of me as a chef, so I stuck it out. The kitchens were mental – you had to be alert. That didn’t bother me. I just wanted to go out with the girls every so often. I really believe in a balanced life – working really hard, being completely focused on your job, and then spending time with your friends – that’s what happiness is all about.

It’s so important to always treat people with respect
I was raised a certain way – it wasn’t just that my parents raised me to respect other people, they were good at going, “Ah, you don’t know…” I grew up in Tallaght and I’m incredibly proud of where I come from. I had the most wonderful neighbours and friends, but there were people? in the same area that were having a much harder time – same age, same area, same everything, but a completely different life experience than mine, and that was because of my privilege – I had thoughtful, kind parents. I’d never disrespect anybody who works for me or who I work for; it doesn’t matter what their role is. The mentality [that the kitchen porters aren’t worthy of the same respect as the chefs] totally exists and with good people – really good people can have bad habits or do bad things. We’re all wrong now and again, and it’s important to make ourselves aware of that, because in all circumstances, racism, ageism, sexism – that’s not needed or efficient in the kitchen.

Off-duty cooking
I love having friends over; whether it’s one friend or ten, the same effort goes in. I love thinking about what a person wants and having it when they arrive. Even if I’m cooking for my boyfriend – he could say, “I’d like that” and I’ll be like, “mental note: make sure that gets on the table”. That’s what motivates me: giving somebody something they’re going to eat and the anticipation of knowing they’re going to like it. That’s why I wanted to be a chef.

Favourite ingredient
Caraway is a part of Irish culture, and it goes with everything – cheeses, sugary things, savoury things, meats. You can grind a bit of caraway into your bread and all of a sudden it becomes something quite memorable.

What I cook in June
People think all gooseberries are good for is a fool or jam, but they’re amazing with so many things. I love gooseberry vinaigrette, replacing lemon with gooseberries – it’s got a little more complexity to it.

The LA food scene is incredible
They’re so knowledgeable and don’t have the constraints that Europeans feel. The service is amazing too. Of course, they’re motivated by tips, but they’re natural in a way that feels like they enjoy their job.

Chefs I admire
There’s Clare Smyth, and Claude Bosi – he’s had a colourful career that’s changed over the years, but he always knows who he is and what his food is. Every success story in our industry has had an awful lot of pain or failure. I get asked [whether I’d like to see more women in this industry]. What I care more about is that talent is noticed; there are women who are extremely talented, but just get overlooked.

Where I see myself in the future
I’d like to think I’d be looking at a project back home. I love London, but it’s never going to be Ireland, it’s never going to be Dublin, so the dream would be to get home and open somewhere there.

Anna Haugh will be at Taste of Dublin, June 14-17 at the Iveagh Gardens, dublin.tastefestivals.com. @TasteDublin @Anahaugh

Portrait courtesy of Clement Design, clementdesign.com

 

This interview originally featured in the June issue of IMAGE Magazine, on shelves now.