Five minutes with… Anna Haugh

The head chef at Myrtle talks about life after lockdown, her new bistro delivery service, anchovies and pub quizzes

Food and Drink 17 Jul 2020

Chef Anna Haugh
Anna Haugh's restaurant Myrtle serves dishes inspired by the chef's Irish heritage
Myrtle reopens with safety features in place on 18 July
At Myrtle Anna Haugh combines modern European techniques with the finest Irish ingredients

Are you excited about reopening Myrtle and welcoming customers back?

I’m happiest when I am cooking. I was so delighted to start the deep cleaning and menu development a few weeks ago. I can almost feel the adrenaline I will get from the first service.

And can you describe the inspiration behind Anna’s Bistro?

Anna’s Bistro is a takeaway and delivery service of classic Parisian bistro dishes to homes or parks, complete with a red and white checked tablecloth. I lived in Paris while I was training as a young chef. I have always loved French food and all I could afford were small bistros selling a formule or at a crêperie. I had lots of daytime and midnight picnics in the Eiffel Tower garden and at the Trocadero. The bistro is inspired by dishes I ate in Paris that I wanted to understand and be able to cook myself.

Myrtle restaurant in Chelsea
Myrtle restaurant in Chelsea

What can customers look forward to from Anna’s Bistro?

Each delivery of more than £35 gets a bistro tablecloth and free chocolate bites. We have a chicken liver pâté served with croutons and pickled shallots that I love so much and I can’t stop eating. We do a roasted and glazed chicken breast with wild mushroom sauce, beef Bourguignon and pomme purée, croque monsieur, and peach melba ice cream.

What’s the biggest lesson the Covid-19 crisis has taught you?

That I love working, and that hugs are worth more than chocolate.

Who is your role model and how have they influenced you in your work? 

First and foremost my father – his work ethic is inspiring. My mother and father taught me to do things for the greater good and not just for your own benefit. I saw first hand that to work hard doesn’t have to feel hard. Chef-wise Eugénie Brazier is hugely inspiring as she was the first female chef in France to win three Michelin stars and the first ever chef to win six: three each at two restaurants both called La Mère Brazier: one in Lyon, and one in the Alps at Col de la Luère. Who wouldn’t find her inspiring?

Chef Anna Haugh in her kitchen
Chef Anna Haugh in her kitchen

What ingredient can you not live without and why?

Butter, but that’s obvious for a chef. Other than that, anchovies – good quality anchovies can transform almost any dish or sauce.

Where is your favourite place to eat in London?

I love so many places. Pop Brixton is near me so I go there a lot – Roe is fantastic and the chef, Simon Whiteside is great. I also love Casse-Croûte near London Bridge.

What do you like to do on a day off? 

Surprisingly I love to cook and I love, love, love to have friends over. Otherwise, I love a comedy gig or a pub quiz – I’m rubbish at them but my boyfriend Rich is brilliant so he makes up for me. Apart from food, what are your biggest passions?
I really enjoy music and art. I get so much pleasure from walking around a museum alone. I was raised in a house that always had music on, so for me I’m never alone if the radio is on.

If you could invite anyone, living or dead, to a dinner party, who would it be and why?

My grandmother, Annie Haugh. I was named after her but I was young when she died and never really got to know her. From the stories I’ve heard she was a great woman. Honest, hard working, and good at running a business, too.

Anna Haugh is the head chef at Myrtle in Chelsea and has just launched Anna’s Bistro, a picnic delivery service inspired by her time in Paris. Find out more at