Lifestyle

Chef Angela Hartnett: ‘My guiltiest pleasure? Plain salted crisps’

Born in Kent, Hartnett, 53, worked with Gordon Ramsay, before launching her own restaurant, Murano in Mayfair, which attained a Michelin star. Her TV work includes MasterChef and Saturday Kitchen, and her latest book is The Weekend Cook: Good Food for Real Life. This year she was awarded an OBE for services to hospitality and to the NHS during the pandemic. She hosts the podcast Dish with Nick Grimshaw. She is married to chef Neil Borthwick and lives in London.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Procrastination.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Bullshitting.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
At college, I’d drunk too much in the student union bar and passed out in the toilet where I had gone to throw up. I woke up locked in, and had to shimmy out the window. For a while, my friends called me Anneka Rice.

Describe yourself in three words
Kind, honest, disorganised.

What makes you unhappy?
If someone in my family is not in a great place that makes me unhappy.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I need to lose weight.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
My father who died when I was eight.

Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
When I first started at The Connaught, I bought a pair of antique diamond earrings at Fred Leighton in New York.

When’s the last time you changed your mind about something significant?
I don’t tend to do that. I tend to go with my gut instinct and stick to it.

What is your most unappealing habit?
I can be moody. I wake up grumpy and don’t do anything to change it.

Who is your celebrity crush?
Jason Sudeikis.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Anything and everything. I watched the Olympics and wanted to be an 800m runner. If I watched Inspector Morse, I wanted to be a pathologist.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
When the police knocked on the door 10 years ago and said: “Do you know Neil Borthwick? You’ve got to come with us to the hospital.” Neil had come off his pushbike and knocked his head, and was in a coma.

What was the last lie that you told?
That I’d be on time.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Plain salted crisps.

Which living person do you most despise, and why?
The Tory government at the moment.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I say “yeah, no” a lot.

What is the worst job you’ve done?
Washing up in the Ford factory canteen in Dagenham.

If not yourself, who would you most like to be?
Helen Mirren.

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How often do you have sex?
All the time.

What keeps you awake at night?
Thinking about work because I’m responsible for people’s jobs.

Would you rather have more sex, money or fame?
Money. I definitely wouldn’t want more fame.

What happens when we die?
I’d love to say that we are all going to see each other again, but when we go, we’re gone.

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