Cateys 2021: Special Award: Angela Hartnett
Sponsored by CH&Co
Chef, restaurateur, TV presenter, cookery book author and philanthropist, Angela Hartnett is one of the UK's most adored names from the world of hospitality. She has built a restaurant empire and a world-class reputation for her Italian-inspired cuisine.
Hartnett grew up in Kent and then, following the death of her father, Upminster. With her mother working around the clock as a nanny, she was taught to cook by her Italian grandmother, Nonna Clorinda, who lived five minutes down the road. By the age of 12, Hartnett was preparing the family meals.
Several members of the broader family owned fish and chip shops. In her first book, Cucina: Three Generations of Italian Family Cooking, Hartnett wrote: "It may not have been the most obvious trade for immigrants from an inland region of Italy, but business was good, and the family prospered."
While studying history at Cambridge, she worked in family-run restaurants, before joining Midsummer House in the city as a waiter. Here, she says she "blagged" her way into the kitchen and honed her craft "on the job".
In 1994, she began a series of stages in London restaurants, including the then A-Z-owned Aubergine in Chelsea, so beginning a 17-year working relationship with Gordon Ramsay. Following Ramsay's split with A-Z in 1998, and the subsequent expansion of his restaurant group, she was at the helm of many of his openings. From 2002 to 2007, she was chef-patron of Menu at the Connaught in Mayfair, securing a first Michelin star in 2004. In 2007, she was made an MBE for services to hospitality.
The following 12 months saw her mastermind the launch of an eponymous restaurant at Miami's Boca Raton hotel before returning to London in 2008 to open restaurant Murano, which gained a Michelin star the following January, and then York & Albany (a restaurant with rooms). In 2009, she became the first woman to win the Chef Catey, bestowed for her "seemingly effortless representation of everything that's good about hospitality".
In 2010 she bought Murano outright from Ramsay. She then joined forces with hotelier Robin Hutson and chef Luke Holder to open Hartnett Holder & Co at Lime Wood hotel, and later joined the boards of both Lime Wood Group and Home Grown Hotels. Hutson extolled her "easy-going approach to work complemented by a firm grasp on detail".
In September 2013, she launched the critically acclaimed Merchants Tavern in Shoreditch, along with head chef (and husband) Neil Borthwick, and Canteen founders Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone, although the site has since closed. Two months later, she opened café-restaurant Café Murano in St James's, with subsequent sister sites in Covent Garden and Bermondsey. In 2015, she opened Cucina Angelina at Portetta in the French Alps.
A regular face on TV, in 2020 she was a judge, with Mary Berry and Chris Bavin, on BBC One reality cooking show Best Home Cook.
After Cucina in 2007, she published *Angela's Kitchen in 2011. A third book, The Weekend Cook: Good Food for Real Life, is scheduled for May 2022. And at the start of this year, she contributed to Chefs At Home, a roundup of recipes cooked by chefs during lockdown, published by Hospitality Action, at the same time becoming a patron of the industry charity.
The editorial team of The Caterer, with nominations from all the Cateys' judging panels