Born in Tallaught, South Dublin, Anna Haugh grew up watching her mother cook at home and learnt her way around a kitchen at an impressively young age. Despite being able to cook a roast for her entire family by the age of 12, she didn’t initially believe it was a realistic ambition to want to become a chef, being told by a career advisor at school that it wasn’t a real career option for women.
However, when Haugh first stepped foot in a professional kitchen in her late teens, she immediately realised that she did in fact want to become a chef. Beginning her career as a junior chef at L’Ecrivain alongside owner Derry Clarke, Haugh was both surprised and inspired to find that the kitchen had an equal split of men and women working there.
After a short stint at L’Ecrivain, she decided it was time to leave Dublin to gain experience elsewhere. The next few years saw Haugh work in prestigious kitchens including the Michelin-starred Parisian restaurant, Gualtiero Marchesi in Hotel Lotto, where she honed her skills as a pastry chef. It was her next move, to London, however that proved to be a defining moment in her career.
Haugh began working at Pied à Terre under legendary chef Shane Osborn, who she says taught her everything she needed to know about working in a top London kitchen. After moving to Phil Howard’s The Square for a year, she then returned to Pied a Terre as a sous chef, before completely changing direction and taking a role at Rocket Foods, an events company.
After a four year hiatus from working in a restaurant kitchen, Haugh was given the opportunity to open Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant, London House in Battersea. Here, she was allowed to cook her own food, and won 3 AA rosettes in her first year in charge.
Finally, in 2019, after leaving a role as executive chef at restaurant Bob Bob Ricard, Haugh launched her debut restaurant Myrtle in Chelsea. The restaurant, which serves an Irish-inspired menu and has a predominantly female-led kitchen, quickly won plaudits for its informal but elegant style of cooking.
Since opening Myrtle, Haugh has become one of the professional chefs on the revamp on BBC classic Ready Steady Cook, and has also won Food and Wine’s award for Best International Chef.
Click here to read more about Anna Haugh in our Ayala SquareMeal Best Female Chefs Series