Five minutes with: Anna Barnett

The cook, author and podcast host of celeb kitchen food chat The Filling on famous guests, the power of salt and the magic of holiday sunrises

Food and Drink 23 Mar 2021

What can you tell us about the second season of your podcast The Filling?
The second season of The Filling is another brilliant mix of names, from world-class Michelin-starred chefs to big hitters in the fashion industry, plus some great names in music and entertainment. Think Kelly Osbourne, Angela Hartnett, Jodie Kidd. I’ve loved how varied each interview has been so far, food really is our common language and to hear people talk so passionately about it is always a joy.

 There are some great names in the line-up, do you have any favourite moments or stories from the upcoming episodes you can share?
Having Kelly Osbourne do the first episode was really exciting, she’s always super energetic, honest and upfront all while not taking herself too seriously. There’s plenty of laughs and some great honest accounts of how she really spent lockdown… plucking leg and facial hair was one of them. I’m the hugest fan of the restaurant Brat and what Tomos [Parry] does there, so to sit and talk food relentlessly for nearly two hours was my dream afternoon. I find it fascinating to hear people’s journeys, his passion for food is entirely infectious.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in your career and why?
There’s room for everyone – focus on what you do.

What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt over the past year?
I’ve definitely learnt to slow things down and check in on myself more. I’ve devoted more time to meditating and creating a clearer vision of what I want to achieve. I also feel like I’ve been able to invest more time into my friends and the people I care about around me, albeit not in person.

Who is your role model and how have they influenced you in your work?
Anyone that is passionate about what they do and has made it a career.

What ingredient/food can you not live without and why?
Sea salt flakes, lemon and black pepper. These three ingredients pretty much go in every dish I make. Salt enhances the flavour of everything you make and also makes the most humble of ingredients sing. Gorgeous ripe tomatoes with sea salt flakes is one of life’s simplest pleasures.

What item, apart from your passport, can you not travel without?
My camera, I love taking photos. When I travel, I’ll get up at sunrise at least once and see wherever I am come to life from the sky to the surroundings. There’s something totally magical about a vacation sunrise.

Where is your favourite place to eat in London?
Brat, the food feels like what you eat on holiday. Everything on the menu is heaven; from the anchovy bread to the turbot, via the roasted peppers and velvet crab rice and finishing with both the burnt Basque cheesecake and brown bread ice cream.

What do you like to do on a day off?
Papers in bed followed by a coffee and pastry out on a dog walk. I love to host so an ideal day is picking up incredible ingredients and whipping up something delicious for friends.

Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?
My dog, it’s all about Ted. Travel, exploring new places, eating at new restaurants. I also love (have a mild addiction to) clothes and shoes. It’s all about investment pieces, I try and avoid buying into fast fashion and also love anything interiors related.

If you could choose anyone from today or history, who would be your ideal dinner party guest and why?
I love comedy and have particularly enjoyed Fran Lebowitz’s dry and dark sense of humour of late. I’m also a fan of Seinfeld so would happily dine out or in with either Jerry Seinfeld or Julia Louis-Dreyfus, come to think of it.

The Filling Podcast is released every Sunday via iTunes and Spotify. You can listen to the first series here.