Flash-grilled: Ruth Hansom

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

My Million Pound Menu contestant and Pomona head chef Ruth Hansom is one of the candidates vying to represent the UK at the next Bocuse d’Or glob...

Related tags: Chef, Restaurant, Million Pound Menu

Pomona head chef Ruth Hansom was recently announced as one of the four candidates vying to represent the UK at the next Bocuse d’Or global culinary competition.

What was your first job?
My first job was at Boundary restaurant in Shoreditch with head chef Frederick Forster. He was a judge when I did Future Chef and gave me a business card, and told me if I ever moved to London to give him a call. So I did just that.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?  
Cheese! I love all cheese, but an aged Comte is my favourite.

What’s the best restaurant meal you’ve ever had?
Atelier in Munich.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why? 
My previous head chef, John Williams. He’s an absolute legend; his palate is second to none, and he is a great teacher.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do? 
I always wanted to be a doctor when I was younger, so I think that.

What is your biggest regret?
I don’t do regrets. Just learn from your mistakes.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
There are so many. Cloth over the shoulder is a big no no; putting dirty spoons back into the spoon pot is another.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Beef Wellington.

Describe your cooking style in three words
Seasonal, honest, and relevant.

Most overrated food?

Restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Mobile Phones at the dinner table.

If you could cook for anyone in the world who would you pick, and why?
While cooking for great chefs is an honour, I love to cook for people on special occasions and make the meal magical for them. I became a chef because I love to make people happy. For me it doesn’t matter who it is. I get the most pleasure when people are at their happiest with the food.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
It’s going to be tough! You will work unsociable hours, but stick it out and it’s the most rewarding industry too. Always be open minded to learning new ways, write everything down, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
A Spoon. Tasting is so important.

What do you cook at home on your days off?
Usually a huge tray of roasted veggies with fish or chicken. Followed by a cheese course, of course.

What’s your earliest food memory? 
I was around 5 and making a quiche with my aunt. I was making short-crust pastry in a glass bowl with a knife, and managed to break the bowl in the process. The quiche was still served, but we ate dinner rather anxiously.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
Now this sounds silly, but it’s true… I drank too much water and put myself into a coma for two days. If you drink too much water it dilutes your electrolytes, apparently.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Anywhere with live music and a bar! Scarves Bar or the Piano Bar are favourites.

Tipple of choice?
Whisky sours.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Anything that is mostly made up of cheese.

Related topics: People, Restaurant, Profiles, Chef

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