Ahead of her appearance on Great British Menu this evening, we caught up with Ruth Hansom, head chef at the Princess of Shoreditch.
What was your best subject at school?
What was your first job?
Avon, cringe! When I was 13
What was your first job in catering?
Working with Frederick Forster at the Boundary in Shoreditch
What do you normally have for breakfast?
Coffee, although If I'm not working, I do love late morning poached egg and bacon
What do you do to relax?
Probably cooking, but totally unpressured and things I wouldn't usually cook in the restaurant. Going for walks and, of course, having a Netflix binge!
Which is your favourite restaurant?
This is so difficult because there are so many great restaurants for so many different reasons! I went to Roots in York last year, which totally blew me away – it's the most deserved new one-Michelin-starred restaurant, in my opinion. But I do also love Sticky Mango in Waterloo for the best south-east Asian food you will find in the UK
What's your favourite hotel?
I'm biased – but it has to be the Ritz London
What is your favourite drink?
I'm loving kombucha at the moment. You can drink it throughout the day and then start adding your favourite spirit at night! It's great for gut health
What is your favourite food/cuisine?
I really do love them all. I find it so interesting learning about food cultures and really appreciate authenticity. So, I guess I love each cuisine so long as it's true to what it should be
Which ingredient do you hate?
I find it difficult to think of things that I don't like... I guess if I have to choose, liquorice is my least favourite thing to eat
Are there any foods/ingredients that you refuse to cook with? If so, why?
Out of season fruits and vegetables. Use produce at its best and that way, it's so naturally delicious you don't need to do much to it!
What flavour combinations do you detest?
Chocolate and mint
What do you always carry with you?
How would you describe your desk?
My desk is pretty organised, although it rarely gets used. I'm always in the kitchen, and I generally just prop my laptop on the counter if I need it
Which person in catering have you most admired?
Both Monica Galetti and Hélène Darroze – two women rocking the restaurant scene, but also holding together a family too! I can't even imagine!
Which person gave you the greatest inspiration?
John Williams, executive chef at the Ritz London
Cast away on a desert island, what luxury would you take?
Cheese – a good Beaufort, to be specific
What daily newspaper/website do you read?
If not yourself, who would you rather have been?
There are so many amazing people in this world, but I think in a time when we constantly compare ourselves to others from what we see portrayed on social media, we need to learn to love ourselves and be grateful for what and who we have
If you had not gone into catering, where do you think you would be now?
Describe your ultimate nightmare?
I Iived it last year – restaurants closing!
When and where was your last holiday?
We managed to go to Torquay for a long weekend last year after the first lockdown, which was bliss! Before that we went to Munich to eat at Atelier Jan Hartwig and see Bon Jovi live
Tell us a secret...
But then it wouldn't be a secret! Haha.... I like ketchup way more than I should
What irritates you most about the industry?
We don't have a minister and the unions are lacking
When did you last eat a hamburger?
At Fallow in December – it was so good!
What's your favourite film?
Anything with Hugh Grant or Colin Firth – or both!
Who would play "you" in a film about your life?
What's your favourite book?
Quay by Peter Gilmore
What is your favourite prepared product?
Dim sum from Wing Yip
Who would be in your "fantasy" brigade?
I love my little team – but April Partridge from the Ledbury would be a fantastic addition
If you had more time, what would you do?
Go to the gym more and travel the world – eating everything along the way, of course
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