The first thing you notice about Anna Barnett is her beautiful smile and warm personality. This is what drew me to her when I first heard her speak about her then new cookery book Eat the Week at an event called Creative Social. House Curious was just a seed of an idea in my head at that stage but I knew Anna would be the perfect partner in crime. I just had to convince her... Not the easiest task when you don't have anything to show, but to my surprise she loved the concept and was up for getting on board. This was the start of a beautiful partnership and we're very excited to announce Anna's first cookery class called The Ultimate Dinner Party Menu. Click here for more info and to buy tickets. Be quick though as we only have limited spaces available. Trust me, you don't want to miss it as you're in for a real treat. I've had the privilege of eating her delicious food and it was out of this world.
We sat down with Anna to find out more about her, what makes her tick and how she went from fashionista to culinary goddess. Get comfy and have a read of her interview below.
Tell us a little bit about yourself for those of us who don’t know what you do?
I live in a converted pub in hackney with my fiancée, five housemates and our dog, Ted. I run my website out of my home where I also do all of my recipe testing and host Supper Clubs. I cater events- working with different organisations to design menus and collaborate on projects. I have a small team that will help me with cooking for bigger events. I also contribute recipes and articles to a number of publications; I’m currently working with Vogue, Grazia, Elle & The Arcadia Online.
How did you make the transition from fashionista to culinary goddess?
I always wanted to work in food and I started off writing my blog in my spare time as a hobby. Things started to take off and I began writing for The Independent and other publications and then came my book deal for Eat The Week. Once the book came out I decided to leave my job at House of Holland and run Anna Barnett Cooks full time and it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done.
Where did you get your passion for food and cooking from?
I come from quite a big family so I’ve always enjoyed cooking for people. I learnt a lot from my Nan and Mum who are both amazing cooks. My fiancée has been vegetarian for 13 years, when we got together his diet wasn’t especially varied or exciting so I made it my mission to experiment with different meat free recipes and show him what he’s been missing.
What would you say has been your biggest achievement?
Writing my book Eat the Week while holding down a full time job! I’m so grateful to have had that opportunity so early into my cooking career.
For anyone out there thinking about leaving his or her day job to pursue a dream or turn a passion into a business what would be your advice?
Just be aware that it’s really full on, you’re doing everything yourself so you need to be super organised and on top of everything or it can get overwhelming. I hire an assistant who comes in a couple of days a week to give me a hand with admin stuff & events so I have time to keep cooking & writing. But more than anything I’d say DO IT. Have confidence and just go for it.
What’s in the pipeline for you this year? On a personal and business level?
I’m getting married in Italy this Summer, it’s going to be a week long event with 100 of our closest friends and family and I can’t wait! Still need to actually start my diet though… I’ve got some exciting events and collaborations coming up, I’m particularly looking forward to my Supper Club & Cookery Class with Soho Farmhouse.
What do you love about your neighbourhood?
There’s so much to love about Hackney, I rarely leave this area. I tend to walk everywhere as I usually have the dog so I love strolling through Broadway Market or Columbia Road. Hackney has everything you need- amazing restaurants, loads of organic shops, parks, great pubs and bars. I could go on and on!
If you were throwing a dinner party who would be your perfect guests and why?
Massimo Battura because he’s my foodie idol and doesn’t take things too seriously. Bowie- for obvious reasons, Adele- I think she’d be such a laugh! My friend Grimmy- he loves food and a good night out and my fiancé Thom- to represent the vegetarians.
Complete these sentences
1. In the future I would love to… release another book
2. I try to persuade people to… cook with locally produced, seasonal ingredients & less meat!
3. My foodie crush is…. Antonio Carluccio…!
4. My favourite foodie destination is… Italy (or my local Italian restaurant, Lardo)
5. My last meal would be… An incredible Bolognese with the largest hunk of parmesan or my Nan’s shepherds pie