INTRODUCING: ANNA BARNETT
Having conquered the world of fashion, she quit her job at House of Holland to become a full-time food writer and chef. Meet Anna Barnett, the self taught cook with a passion for vibrant flavours and ofcourse, clothes.
Being a food writer wasn’t the first career you had. You worked at House of Holland for a number of years as well as at MTV and Channel 4. What made you decide to make the jump to writing full time? Was it scary to make that leap?
Absolutely! Going out on your own and taking that leap of faith is always going to be scary. Wondering whether you’ll get work, be able to pay your bills and carve out a whole new career took a lot of deliberating. As everyone suggested it was one of those things that I wish I’d done sooner. I think it got to a point where my whole life revolved around working pretty much full time for House of Holland, travelling a lot and doing the food stuff in the evenings and at weekends meant I just got to a point where I didn’t have a life or one I enjoyed. Something had to give.
How was the process of writing your own books?
Very solo, much quieter and more laborious than you think. Coming up with 140 recipes, writing them and testing them is a serious task and one that I did most nights of the week as I was still working for House of Holland at the time. The exciting part comes when you shoot the imagery and really see it come to life.
What has been your favourite project to work on?
It’s hard to pinpoint one, I like projects where I get to collaborate and work with new people. One of the projects I loved was working on Antonio Carluccio’s last book, cooking up his recipes with him, in his kitchen. I also got to work on the vegetarian and vegan menu that’s gone into Carluccio’s which meant I got to spend an entire and very hectic day cooking for Antonio. Any project that involves pasta is probably a favourite past time.
"Any project that involves pasta is probably a favourite past time."
How does being surrounded by some many creative people help drive your career?
Henry (& I’m sure he’ll love me saying this) was one of those friends that really drove me to brave it on my own. Having courage and confidence is an attribute that really makes all the difference. Being driven and having friends who have created their own success makes you realise you can do it too, there’s room for everyone. It’s amazing to have such inspiring people around you, setting the bar high.
Where do you find inspiration for the meals you cook?
From seasonal produce, or whatever I happen to fancy eating. Eating out and travelling is often really inspiring, exposing yourself to new dishes and cuisines.
What is your favourite meal to cook and why?
Pasta is probably my go to, fresh pasta with homemade sauce, lots of fresh herbs and if the husband (who’s vegetarian) isn’t about then some kind of seafood spaghetti can’t be beaten. Simple dishes made with quality ingredients and plenty of it will always wins me over.
What’s your favourite meal that someone else makes for you?
My Nan’s shepherds pie, can’t be beaten. The gravy, which there’s pints of, is as meaty as the pie itself.
What do you think it means to be part of #HOHLIFE?
I’m hoping it’s championing all those strong and determined women out there, making their own way and forging interesting and creative career paths. How far off am I??
Anna was the International Sales Manager at House of Holland before becoming a full-time food writer.