Flash-grilled: Laura Horta

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled with Laura Horta operations director of Angelina in London's Dalston and Soho 'kushikatsu' restaurant Dai Chi

Related tags: Angelina, Restaurant, Operations director

The operations director of Angelina in London's Dalston and Soho 'kushikatsu' restaurant Dai Chi on growing up working in restaurants, why scallops are overrated, and her perfect day off.

What was your first job?
My first job was working retail during the Christmas period while in school so that I could get some extra pocket money and experience. My first hospitality job was at Bocca di Lupo, right when I moved to London in 2011, as a coat check girl.

Why did you want to work in restaurants?
My whole family works in food, I grew up in restaurants in Brazil so it felt quite natural for me. I’ve always liked how in restaurants you get to do a bit of everything, so there’s never a dull day!

If you weren’t in the industry, what would you do?
I’ve always loved biology and fixing things so I think medical school would’ve been a good choice in a parallel universe.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
Danny Meyer, legendary restaurateur that changed the game by giving service and hospitality the attention it deserves.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
Very sincerely telling me that he loved me as a human being while wearing a conical straw hat. He was certainly very high and it was pretty hilarious.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten in a restaurant?
Ooof that’s a difficult one, there’s been so many fantastic ones over the years - the freshest one on my mind was at The Sportsman near Whitstable. Every mouthful was just divine.

Most overrated food?
This might be controversial, but scallops. I find them boring and lacking in flavour.

What’s your favourite comfort food, post shift?
Gyozas - the Japanese frozen ones. They are LIFE! They’re ready in under five minutes anytime you need them and always hit the spot. Soft scrambled eggs spooned on top of Torres truffle crisps are also a favorite, try it and thank me later.

If you could serve anyone, who would it be and why?
My grandma, Nina Horta, she unfortunately passed away before she could visit Angelina.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Picking herbs from my nan’s garden while being taught what they were. Such a good way of learning and it smelled fantastic. 

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
Dancing for sure  - any Little Gay Brother night would do it. I’m also partial to Dalston Superstore, Queen Adelaide and Ridley Road Market Bar.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?
Not really a dish, but I love making bread, it is so satisfying. I haven’t made it in ages though... this reminds me I need to get my starter back up to scratch.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Always stay curious and ask lots of questions. Also to make the most of your days off. There’s nothing better than having time to go see that exhibition on a random Tuesday when everything’s quieter.

Related topics: People, Restaurant, Profiles

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