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CODE meets Ruth Hansom, Princess of Shoreditch

Published 18 November 2020

Having joined the team at Princess of Shoreditch earlier this year, this week we hear from Ruth Hansom about her latest venture, why the hospitality industry needs a minister and starting out in the industry aged 16.

You recently joined The Princess of Shoreditch. Tell us a bit more about that move? 

I joined the Princess of Shoreditch back in March and science then we have undergone a big refurbishment both upstairs and down. It has been great to be so hands on with everything from the deco to the food.

What kind of menu will you be creating there? 

Upstairs we offer a very seasonal menu. Its refined but with relaxed service. Down stairs we have homemade charcuterie and british cheeses. 

How would you describe your style of cooking? 

I use a lot of classical french methods as per my training however my plating is modern and natural. 

You’ve had a few months out of the kitchen during the first lockdown. How do you cope with that? 

Lockdown was a strange period for us all, right?! I used the time to exercise, actually read some of the cook books that sit on my shelf and also to cook new things that I don’t often get a chance to. I love eating different food to what we cook at the restaurant so it was great to make my own gyoza and boa buns. 

What support does the hospitality industry need to make sure it gets back on track? 

I think the hospitality industry first and foremost needs a Minister. We offer such a huge amount to our economy, I really can’t believe we don’t already have one! I also think now, more than ever, we need to nurture young chefs and ensure that young people looking to find a way into the industry are deterred by everything that is going on. 

You started cooking at a high level at a very young age. How did you find that experience?

Yes, I moved to London at 16 to follow my passion. I decided that I had sacrificed so much with the move that I had to make it worth it so training at a high level was the only way I was going to do that. I started working under Frederick Forster, of whom I greatly admire, before moving on to the Ritz to complete my appreticeship under John Williams. I could not have asked for a better grounding and I’m so greatful for my time with both of them, and can honestly say I think that my training would be hard pushed to be beaten.  

How has your experience helped you in your development? 

I think that my past jobs at The Ritz, Luton Hoo and Pomonas have all played a huge part in my development. Some have shown me what I want to deliver and others what i do not but I think that they were also necessary learning curves that lead me to where I am now. 

You were a finalist on this year’s series of Great British Menu. Tell us about that experience? 

I loved taking part in the Great British Menu last year, it was such a privilege to cook alongside the other chefs.  I used to watch the programme as a child and didn’t think for one moment that I would ever actually be on it!

What’s been the proudest moment of your career so far? 

The proudest moment of my career so far was winning Young National Chef. I think it was the amount of effort that had gone into it, as I won on my third attempt.

Finally, if you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

If I had to eat one meal for the rest of my life it would be my Mums lasagne! She didn’t cook very often at all when we were growing up but if she did it was lasagne and it was great!  

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