Angela Hartnett, a protégé of multiple-Michelin-starred chef-restaurateur Gordon Ramsay, is Britain’s highest profile female chef and, like her boss, has become a familiar face on TV.
She is widely tipped to become the first female chef in England to earn two, even three, Michelin stars.
Born in Kent in 1968, Angela Hartnett was taught to cook by her Italian grandmother who hailed from Bardi in the Emilia Romagna region, before moving to live in Wales in the 1930s. After taking a history degree at Cambridge Polytechnic, she 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 learned on her craft on the job.
Born: 1968, Kent
Cielo at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, Miami
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 at stint at Gordon Ramsay’s new Aubergine restaurant (part of the A-Z Restaurants group) that turned in to a full-time job - even though the mostly-male brigade bet that Hartnett would not last the first week.
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 Gordon Ramsay Holdings banner, Hartnett has been at the helm of many of his openings. Initially, however, she worked alongside him at his eponymous (now three-Michelin-star) restaurant in Royal Hospital Road and, as Wareing’s ‘right-hand-man’, helped to launch the two-Michelin-star 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 (winner of 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, Hartnett was chef-patron of Angela Hartnett’s Menu at the Connaught, which netted the chef her first Michelin star in 2004. However, Gordon Ramsay Holdings and the Connaught parted company in 2007 and she has since concentrated her efforts in overseeing her eponymous restaurant at Miami’s Boca Raton hotel (launched for GRH in 2006 in partnership with Luxury Resort Collection) and preparing to open at two new London sites.
These two new projects, scheduled for 2008 openings, will see her take on executive chef roles at Ramsay’s first boutique hotel, the York and Albany in Camden (September), and at Murano, an fine-dining Italian restaurant in Mayfair (June).
Hartnett was awarded an MBE in early 2007 for her services to the hospitality industry and published her first book – Angela Hartnett's Cucina, Three Generations of Italian Family Cooking – later in the same year.
Since appearing with Ramsay on ITV’s Hell’s Kitchen in 2004, Hartnett has made numerous TV appearances, including on BBC's Kitchen Criminals and Take On The Takeway. She competed for Wales in BBC2’s Great British Menu competition in 2006 and 2008.