Rather than being discriminated against in a male dominated industry, chef Angela Hartnett says that being a woman has actually worked in her favour.
Speaking to Wine List Confidential after picking up the inaugural Ayala SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year award at Daphne’s restaurant in Chelsea, Harnett said:
“I’ve been in the industry for 30 years and have never once felt patronised, because I work as hard as the men I’ve worked with. In some ways I think being a woman has worked in my favour.
“In my time working as a chef I’ve found catering to be the most undiscriminating industry there is and have never felt discriminated against.
“I don’t know anyone who would choose a bloke over a woman for a job just because they were male – people want good chefs regardless of their gender.
“I don’t think working in the industry is hard for women, it’s that women don’t shout as loudly as men about their achievements.
As to whether ‘best female chef’ awards are still necessary and relevant, Hartnett doesn’t have a problem with them.
“They give an award to the best actress at the Oscars, so I don’t think ‘best female chef’ awards are a bad thing if they help promote women in the industry.
“There are loads of great female chefs working today but there are still more male chefs at the moment, so why not have an award that celebrates women?
“The restaurant trade is changing for the better. If these kinds of awards encourage young girls coming into our industry, then it’s a great thing.”
Kent-born Hartnett began her career under Gordon Ramsay’s wing at Aubergine in Chelsea, where she worked alongside Marcus Wareing.
Having won a Michelin star at her eponymous restaurant at The Connaught, in 2008 she parted ways with Gordon Ramsay Hodldings and launched her first solo venture, Murano in St James’s, which now has a Michelin star.
Hartnett currently runs five restaurants: Murano; Café Murano sites in St James’s and Covent Garden; Merchants Tavern in Shoreditch; and Hartnett, Holder & Co at Lime Wood hotel in Hampshire.