The 45-year-old chef will leap from one restaurant (the Michelin-starred Murano in Mayfair) and a low-key consultancy in Whitechapel Galleryto managing a total of five projects this year.
This commenced in February, with Hartnett's first project outside of London - the restaurant-redevelopment at Lime Wood hotel in the New Forest. Her second project of 2013 launches next month. Merchants Tavernsees her join forces with boyfriend and fellow chef Neil Borthwick and Canteen co-founders Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone.
Opening later this year, project number threewill then be located on the other side of Piccadilly to Murano, at 33 St James’s. Coincidentally, the site was once home to the original Petrus restaurant, where the Kent-born chef climbed the ranks from sous chef to head chef in the late ’90s.
Speaking of this rapid-fire succession of openings, Hartnett told Restaurant magazine: "When we first took over Murano I turned down everything. I wouldn’t even go to awards parties or restaurant launches, I didn’t want to be one of those chefs who was never in their restaurant.
“But now I’ve developed a feel for the things that need to be watched and I’m more open to partnerships and expansion generally. Clearly it’s linked to availability of people to work with and funding as well – there’s a huge amount of confidence in the central London restaurant market at the moment.”
She also spoke about how her expansion could, in part, be put down to a growing pool of hand-reared talent to keep challenged and incentivised. “You need to give the very talented ones something to push for,” she added. “Like Danny Meyer (the New York restaurateur) says – ‘you expand to give your key staff somewhere to go’.”
For more about Hartnett's secrets to success and her future plans, pick up the latest edition of Restaurant magazine, out tomorrow (4 September).
Also in this month's issue:
- News about a potential influx of Greek and Turkish investment in London, and the growing popularity of fast food-style ordering systems among high-end operators
- Table for Two interview with Ping Pong founder Kurt Zdesar
- Business Profile of Giraffe
- The latest restaurant openings, including Wright Brothers Spitalfields, Koya Bar and The Bavarian Beerhouse
- Pearls of Wisdom interview with the chef-owner of Dock Kitchen, Stevie Parle
- Liquid Assets: A special guide to what's hot in the drinks world