Anna Haugh - Head Chef of London House, Battersea
Anna Haugh heads up Battersea favourite, London House - a product of the ever-expanding Gordon Ramsay empire. With a working history that includes Pied-a-Terre, The Square, and L’Ecrivain (Dublin); London House is certainly in good hands. Get to know Anna a little better, as she answers our questions.
What inspired you to become a Chef - when was your 'Eureka' moment?
I was working in Jersey and by chance the kitchen asked me to open large catering size tins of fruit cocktail. I walked into the giant shiny sea of stainless steel. It was empty but I felt filled with something that was missing. I called my parents that day and said I needed to be a chef....they were not impressed.
What was your very first job?
A paper round. it was cripplingly hard as I didn't have a bike (my father is a safety freak, story for another day, including me evil-knieveling it around a roundabout). So had to keep going back and fourth to the house for papers as there were too many to carry.
If you could only cook with 3 ingredients for the rest of your life which would they be?
Butter, potatoes and tomatoes
What's your favourite cuisine and what drink would you have with it?
Easy! French all the way! Washed down with a bottle of Blue WKD...I'm kidding a glass of nice wine.
Which ingredients do you have a love/hate relationship with and why?
This is tough; there is no ingredient that’s too high maintenance to prep. But if I had to choose, maybe morels. I just love them so much but I hate them because their season is short.
Which Chef inspires you the most?
Am I allowed say Gordon? If not, then I would say Myrtle Allen the original forager; a forager from habit, necessity and curiosity. Nothing to do with trends more about the best possible attitude to food.
What would be your last supper and who would cook it?
If it’s my last supper it would be with my family and I am cooking them the most epic meal including all of their favorites. I was lucky to be raised by half-mad food loving people. On the menu would be king scallops and langoustines just with garlic parsley and lemon juice to start, followed by lamb chops for mains with Greek salad and chips. For dessert would be my mother’s recipe for a crazy delicious lemon, lime and pineapple cheese cake.
If you had not been a chef, what would you have done?
I would have become a teacher and during my spare time probably jumped of mountains for excitement too. Being a chef ticks both these boxes.
Tell us a secret?
As a little girl I used to drink vinegar. My mother would try to hide it, but I would find it everytime. When I was a little older, I convinced my best friends to drink it. I told them it would get rid of their spots...I’m not sure if it works we were still covered in spots.
What’s your favourite kitchen utensil?
Spoon - best way to get food in my mouth
Who would you love to cook for?
I thrive under pressure therefore I would love to cook for all the great head chefs I have worked for:
Gordon Ramsay, Philp Howard, Shane Osborne, Derry Clarke, Gualtiero Marchesi. It would be the most nerve wrecking meal but it would be the most memorable meal to prepare.
What music/track do you like to listen to while cooking?
Disney sound track from 1980s
Favourite junk food/ guilty pleasure?
Burton's Daily fish and chip snack, they’re tasty salt and vinegar biscuits.
What irritates you most about the industry?
Honestly nothing. I think if I were a head chef 10 years a go, I would probably have a list. But today the industry is progressive, exciting and constantly throwing new things into the ring. Every day a new, fun concept is created in London by very talented people. Some win and some lose. Restaurants are being challenged by passionate pop-ups and gourmet street food. It’s exciting, it’s quality and well-thought through concepts that succeed and I find this exceptionally motivational.
Tell us about the most difficult customer you have ever dealt with?
This is difficult we have the most ridiculously awesome customers but if I had to answer, one day a woman was convinced we were pulling the wool over her eyes and not serving her plaice. She said it was too thick, not understanding it was in summer, so very much in season – beautifully large 2kg fish with stunningly bright, orange spots. I eventually sent a fresh one out to her table to prove that it was indeed plaice on her plate. Once she was able to see this, she was quite pleased and left happy.
Who would be in your fantasy dinner party? (fiction & non-fiction)
I've chosen the guests mainly through their story telling, comic and singing ability:
Maya Angelou (most inspiring woman ever), Michael Scott (Office USA), Catlin Moran (author basically the most awesome woman), Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, Tina Faye. Of course all of my close friends (I can't name names or I will get in trouble, none of them would like to miss out on the fun). Oh wait and it would be rude to not invite Ryan Gosling.
What dish would win over your heart?
Anything made with effort and thought, by someone who loves me. Wait, that’s too sappy. Okay, Caviar and vodka! Wait, that’s not true. Slow cooked shoulder to share with and a panzanella salad. Yes straight to my heart!
More on London House
London House Venue Page Here