There’s not long to go until our 11th Annual Action Against Hunger charity dinner at Hawksmoor Guildhall. Over the years, we’ve had multi-Michelin superstars in our kitchen, like Jason Atherton and Nathan Outlaw, global superstars like Dario Cecchini and Judy Joo, up-and-coming talent that made it HUGE like James Knappett and Tom Adams, and overseas legends that have made their homes in London like Skye Gyngell and Robin Gill. And this year is no exception. In the kitchen, working side by side to deliver a menu worthy of the cause, we are honoured to have…
Angela Hartnett, OBE, is one of the UK’s most loved chefs and restaurateurs, known for her high-quality but fuss-free, Italy-inspired cooking. Born in Britain, her passion for good, honest food and the best ingredients was instilled in her by her Italian grandmother and mother.
After starting out in the kitchens at Aubergine, Zafferano, L’Oranger and Petrus, Angela became head chef at Petrus within seven short months, helping the restaurant to achieve a Michelin star. She went on to launch Amaryllis in Scotland; Verre in Dubai; MENU, and The Grill Room at The Connaught with Gordon Ramsay.
In 2007 Angela was awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality industry, and the following year she opened her own restaurant, Murano in Mayfair, where she is Chef Proprietor and holds a Michelin star. Serving modern, seasonal food with an Italian accent, Murano is one of the few restaurants to hold 4 AA rosettes.
In November 2013, she opened the critically acclaimed Cafe Murano in St James,’ a brassier little sister to Murano. Since then, she has opened two sister cafes’ across London. And, from May 2020, Cafe Murano began offering ‘pasta at home’ kits via the Bermondsey St site, available via delivery to a five-mile radius from the restaurant. Cafe Murano has since gone on to launch an online store with London-wide delivery and nationwide meal kits via Dispatch.
In 2015 she joined the team at Portetta Hotel in Courchevel to open Cucina Angelina.
Angela was the chef judge in BBC1’s Britain’s Best Home Cook in 2020, alongside Claudia Winkleman, Mary Berry and Chris Bavin.
In June 2022, she launched the podcast, Dish by Waitrose & Partners, which she co-hosts with celebrity broadcaster Nick Grimshaw.
Angela currently has three cookbooks to her name, Cucina (2007) and Angela’s Kitchen (2011) published by Ebuey and best seller, The Weekend Cook, Good Food for Real Life (2022) by Bloomsbury.
In January 2022, Angela was awarded an OBE for services to the hospitality industry and to the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I started when I was 14 years old, in my local pub making sandwiches and washing up. At the time, I thought the food was amazing; looking back, not so much, but after a few weeks, I knew I had to be a chef.”
Matt arrived in London from Derbyshire aged of 16 for an apprenticeship at The Ritz and began building his career in Michelin-starred kitchens. He first worked with Philip Britten at The Capital Hotel before moving to The Restaurant Marco Pierre White in late 1993, where he spent the next five years and was a part of the team that achieved three Michelin stars in 1995 – earning him his title of ‘Hawksmoor’s very own Michelin Man’. Matt left White in 1998 to work with John Burton Race at L’Ortolan near Reading.
In 2000, Matt returned to London to become the Head Chef of Pierre Koffmann’s 3* La Tante Claire. He then returned to work with White, first as Executive Chef of Belvedere and eventually overseeing White’s restaurants over the next decade.
A chance meeting with a former colleague led Matt to move to Hawksmoor Air Street restaurant in 2015, and he has never looked back, taking over as Group Executive Chef in 2019. Having successfully launched Hawksmoor’s first international restaurant in New York in 2021. Matt will make one of his rare appearances in the UK at the 11th-anniversary Hawksmoor charity dinner.
Originally from Australia, Skye Gyngell is now one of Britain’s most respected and acclaimed chefs. After initially training in Sydney and then Paris, Skye moved to London to work at The French House and with a number of high-profile private clients before taking on the role of head chef at Petersham Nurseries. It was at Petersham that Skye became renowned for her seasonal cooking style, creating dishes inspired by what she saw growing and blossoming around her.
Spring opened in London in 2014 as Skye Gyngell’s first solo venture. The restaurant brings Skye’s acclaimed ingredient-led cooking to the New Wing of Somerset House, the renowned arts and cultural centre in the heart of the West End. Since opening the doors to Spring at Somerset House, Gyngell has won the respect of critics and diners alike for the simple, seasonal, ingredient-led food that comprises the menu.
Since January 2017, Skye has exercised the philosophy of cooking and eating with economy and grace at Spring Restaurant by incorporating the ‘Scratch Menu’. The menu is not designed to be fancy or complicated but to provide a delicious, nutritious meal by using ingredients that are often overlooked – think organic ingredients such as beetroot tops and potato skins turned into simple soups, a culinary treasure trove of pickled vegetables, their tops and stem, the trimmings from our house-made pasta, baked with ends of cheese or yesterday’s bread transformed into warm bread pudding served with a spoonful of jam made from last year’s gooseberry glut.
At the start of 2018, Skye took this initiative further and announced plans for the restaurant to be single-use, plastic-free by 2019. Working closely with A Plastic Planet founder, Sian Sutherland, Skye has removed plastic straws, cling film and plastic-lined ice cream cups from the restaurant.
Skye was the Independent on Sunday’s food writer for five years and has also published four books: A Year in My Kitchen (2006), My Favourite Ingredients (2008) and How I Cook (2010), and Spring (2015) all to great acclaim. Skye has also been appointed as culinary director for the luxury Hampshire hotel Heckfield Place, which opened in 2018.
“One of the great joys of the restaurant industry is forming deep friendships with like-minded people.”
Mitch Tonks is on a mission to change how the UK experiences seafood. Mitch founded the award-winning Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth and Rockfish, a group of seafood restaurants based by the water across Devon and Dorset. He has pioneered a range of tinned British seafood and set up the Rockfish online seafood market, delivering fresh fish nationwide from the Brixham quayside.
My journey with Hawksmoor has really been about a succession of friendships. I first knew it as a customer through a series of long lunches with different chef and wine-industry friends. I live in Brixham, and whenever I was in London, people would suggest we head there. It was a good sign; chefs tend to avoid the latest, cleverest, trendiest foodie destinations in favour of places that do simple things well and are just nice places to be. and have a well-stocked back bar. I liked it straight away. The ingredients that make a great restaurant are difficult to define. food and service are part of it, but there’s a big chunk that you can’t measure; I call that bit restaurant umami – you can’t put your finger on it, but you can sense it and feel it. It’s in the air, in the hum of happy people, customers and staff. When I first went to Hawksmoor, the room was full of it.
Over time I’ve got more involved in Hawksmoor, and they’ve got more involved in my business in Devon, where we have five Rockfish restaurants as well as the Seahorse. It’s a continual process of trying, testing, tasting, constantly paying attention to detail and pushing each other to be better. We share our successes and failures, our passions and pet hates, but it always comes back to food, drink and restaurants, which is the enduring passion for us all.
Really, at the Seahorse, we were essentially doing with fish what they were doing with meat, taking the best ingredients possible and just adding fire…