Earlier this year, London restaurant Bob Bob Ricard appointed Anna Haugh as its executive chef. The former head chef at Gordon Ramsay's London House in Battersea, south London, talks to Neil Gerrard about what prompted her to make the move, as well as her "expensive" mistake with Ramsay
What appealed to you about this new role at Bob Bob Ricard?
Tell us more about your plans for the restaurant
Bob Bob Ricard is an exciting, fun place to be. I am changing how we look at what a professional kitchen environment should be in 2016. We want to serve the best food made from the best ingredients touched by the best staff.
You are originally from Ireland - do you find the opportunity to use Irish produce in your cooking and, if so, what is your favourite product?
Yes, I believe Ireland has some spectacular beef, lamb, fish and dairy products. It's wonderful to be in a position where I get to use the best ingredients. When in Ireland I used Clew Bay lamb - it is everything I love in lamb.
You reportedly once cost Gordon Ramsay $20,000 (£16,000) for a reshoot of Hell's Kitchen. What happened?
He just says that. It was in a Beverly Hills mansion and it was the final. I was a bit nervous and I kind of lost my ability to speak with full sentences. I kept calling everything "'alicious". I've no idea why I couldn't pronounce delicious properly.
I had to try two dishes (both were pretty flipping delicious, actually) but I gave the wrong points to the one I preferred. Everything went silent and my blood went cold. I looked at Gordon and he was laughing. We reshot it in two seconds. Gordon can be a scamp.
Who else have you worked with who you would say has had a major influence on your cooking or your career?
I'm incredibly lucky to have worked with some brilliant chefs and I have learned something specific off each one: seasonality and the chemistry of flavours from Phil Howard; self-discipline from Shane Osborn; and a passion for cooking from Derry Clarke in Dublin. These men are strong, ambitious leaders. I got plenty of ass-kicking and a few back pats.
What are your plans for the future?
To take over the world, of course!
Could you tell us about some of the dishes you have added to the menu at Bob Bob Ricard since you arrived?
Lemon sole stuffed with scallop mousse, lobster and prawn served with a Champagne sauce, and apple, fennel and oyster salad.
What are the main differences you find at Bob Bob Ricard as opposed to London House?
Every kitchen is different, but also the same. It's different because of the menus, but the same because of the passion and the presence of quality. Each job has thrown new challenges my way and that is what interests me so much.
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