Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Angela Harnett, Murano

06 December 2012
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Angela Harnett, Murano

Overall ranking: 74 (ranked 63 in 2011)
Chef ranking: 20 (ranked 18 in 2011)

Angela Hartnett - Snapshot

Angela Hartnett is the chef-patron of one-Michelin-starred Italian Murano, in London's Mayfair. A protégée of multiple-Michelin-starred chef-restaurateur Gordon Ramsay, she is Britain's highest-profile female chef and the only woman to have won the Catey Chef Award. She bought Murano from Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) in October 2010, consults to caterer Smart Hospitality and recently announced her first venture outside of London: a restaurant at the New Forest boutique hotel, Lime Wood.

Angela Hartnett - Career guide

Born in Kent in 1968, Angela Hartnett was taught to cook by her Italian grandmother, who hailed from Bardi in Italy's Emilia Romagna region and moved to live in Wales in the 1930s. After taking a history degree at Cambridge Polytechnic, Hartnett worked in a number of small family-run restaurants before joining Midsummer House in Cambridge as a waiter. Here she "blagged" herself into the kitchen, where she learnt her craft on the job.

The next stop on her journey was Barbados, where Hartnett worked in a restaurant at the Tamarind Cove hotel before returning to the UK in 1994 to do 10 stages in restaurants across London. This included a stint at Gordon Ramsay's new Aubergine restaurant (part of the A-Z Restaurants group) that turned into a full-time job.Aubergine marked the start of Hartnett's long association with Ramsay, who picked up his first two Michelin stars at Aubergine - in 1995 and 1997 - after launching the restaurant in 1993. Hartnett moved around the A-Z stable, working with Giorgio Locatelli at Zafferano and joining another Ramsay protégé, Marcus Wareing, at L'Oranger.

Following Ramsay's split with A-Z in 1998 and the subsequent expansion of his restaurant empire under the GRH banner, Hartnett was seen at the helm of many of his openings. Initially, however, she worked alongside him at his eponymous three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, and, as Wareing's "right-hand-man", helped to launch the two-Michelin-starred Pétrus, which won its first star within seven months of opening.

2001 was a hectic year that saw Hartnett opening Amaryllis in Glasgow's One Devonshire Gardens hotel, which won a Michelin star the following year, and overseeing the brasserie-style Glasshouse and fine-dining Verre restaurants at the Dubai Hilton Creek hotel - Ramsay's first overseas restaurant consultancy - before handing the executive chef reins on to Jason Atherton.

From 2002 to 2007 - the year she was appointed MBE - Hartnett was chef-patron of Angela Hartnett's Menu at the Connaught, which netted the chef her first Michelin star in 2004. GRH and the Connaught parted company in 2007 and, in 2008, Hartnett returned to the fold as executive chef at Ramsay's first boutique hotel, the York & Albany in Camden and at a new Mayfair restaurant, Murano.

In 2010, upon informing her long-time employer of a wish to set-up on her own, Ramsay offered her the opportunity to buy Murano, and the sale concluded in October. She remained in charge of York & Albany until the end of the year, before handing the reins back to GRH and taking on a consultancy at Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room in January 2011.

In January 2013, Hartnett is due to open her first restaurant outside of London - at Lime Wood in Lyndhurst, Hants. Working alongside Lime Wood's executive chef Luke Holder she intends to put out a menu of Italian-influenced forest dishes, using local artisan produce wherever possible.

Since appearing with Ramsay on ITV's Hell's Kitchen in 2004, Hartnett has made numerous TV appearances, including on the BBC's Kitchen Criminals and Take On The Takeaway. She competed for Wales in BBC2's Great British Menu competition in 2006 and 2008. She has written two books - Angela Hartnett's Cucina (published 2007) and A Taste of Home (published 2011) - and also co-wrote First Crack Your Egg with John Burton-Race (published 2007) to accompany the Kitchen Criminals series.

Angela Hartnett - What we think

As Britain's highest-profile female chef, Angela Hartnett could be forgiven for getting fed up with being interviewed about being a woman in the kitchen rather than her undoubted cooking skills. But it doesn't bother Hartnett. "There are still so few women in the industry. If being a woman is one of the assets that make you stand out, because you're in a male environment and as good a chef as, if not better than, a man, then use it. It's part of who you are," she told Caterer in 2008.

She put her money where her mouth is, metaphorically, when she was one of the driving forces behind a series of gala dinners at the City of London's 1 Lombard Street restaurant in March 2012. The dinners at Girls Night Out were cooked by a starry line-up of British and international female chefs, Hartnett included. Having cooked at all-female dinners in Australia and Brazil, Hartnett thought, "why not London?".

It was a long way from her first day at Aubergine, when the mostly male brigade were taking bets on how long she would last. Wareing, part of the brigade, was the most generous, giving her two weeks. "Angela would take as much as anyone could," he recalled, in an Observer Food Monthly interview in 2007. "She just battened down the hatches and got on with it. She's a true-grit chef."

Over the years Hartnett has been lauded guides and magazines: by Hardens, Zagat, Michelin - even by Harper's Bazaar at its Women of the Year Awards in 2009 when she was given their Breakthrough Award. Then, in June 2009 Hartnett became the first woman to win the Chef Award at the Cateys, two years after she picked up an MBE for services to hospitality; and while her modern Italian cooking will be around for years to come, it is her breakthrough into a once male-dominated industry that will have the lasting influence.

Angela Hartnett's ranking in the 2010 Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 >>Smart Hospitality and Angela Hartnett win Olympic Hospitality Centre >>

Female chefs girls night out >>

Angela Harnett to join forces with Lime Wood for restaurant launch >>

Menuwatch: Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room >>

Women's 1st's Top 100 Women in Hospitality and Leisure >>

Angela Hartnett buys Murano from Gordon Ramsay Holdings >>

Murano website >>

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