Two minutes with Olia Hercules

Published 28 May 2019

In this week’s Q&A, Olia Hercules, chef and food writer, talks to CODE about her favourite places to eat in London, her work life and who has been influential on her career.

What’s your one piece of advice to someone starting out?

Do it because you just love cooking and not because you dream to become rich or famous. It is tough graft and one can only become successful at it if even the longest hours and hardest physical work bring you joy.

When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?

During the 2008 financial crash.

Where and how did you get your start?

My first job after finishing the diploma at Leiths School of Food and Wine (where I now teach) was at Union Market in Fulham, as a CDP. A few months later I was working for Ottolenghi in Islington.

Sum up your current work life in one sentence.

It is multi-faceted, never boring, and a good balance of physical and cerebral.

Who has been really influential on your career and why?

Yotam Ottolenghi for inspiring me to change career with his story and success, and Elisabeth Luard for pulling me out of my writing block during the writing of my second cookbook.

What’s next for you?

Figuring out what to make the focus of my fourth book.

Where did you last have a great meal?

My husband is the best cook I know, so it was at home a few days ago.

Are there any openings you are looking forward to?

I always look forward to Towpath re-opening for the summer season – it is one of the best places to eat in London in my opinion.

Where is the most exciting city for hospitality?

Georgia – the whole country. If it must be a city, London is hard to beat.

Who would you identify as a rising star?

 Alissa Timoshkina (Salt and Time cookbook)

This Q&A was first featured in the CODE Careers Bulletin. To subscribe please click here

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