'YOU'RE A PART OF SOMEONE'S CELEBRATION EVERY NIGHT AND EVERY DAY.'
You'll have to follow her on the floor at Lyle’s, because she doesn’t have Twitter or Instagram.
1. What was your first job in hospitality?
Working in a 5 star hotel in Edinburgh when I was 17. I worked for all the events like weddings. We used to do big functions and I would do a Wednesday night and a Saturday all day. It was epic and it was one of my most favourite jobs. We had to wear little black jackets and white gloves. On my fourth wedding I spilled red wine on the bride. I recovered from it and that was kind of when I knew I liked hospitality.
2. What is your favourite type of cuisine to eat – preferably not the one you work in?
Probably Asian, like right across the board. I like the really clean linear food from Japan and I love the kind of passionate cooking from Southeast Asia and the one pot wonders from Malaysia.
3. Which dish do you most associate with childhood?
Macaroni & Cheese that my Mum used to make. My Mum is a really bad cook, like horrendously bad. Her speciality would be frozen chicken nuggets that she would bake in the oven and then she would add Uncle Ben’s sweet and sour sauce and white rice and that would be her interpretation of sweet and sour chicken. So the only thing she could cook well from scratch, was macaroni and cheese. Now when I try it it’s not the best mac n’ cheese I have ever had, but it’s still pretty good.
4. What’s the soundtrack to your first love?
The Killers – Hot Fuss. Reminds me of the student union where we first met.
5. What do you crave after a long shift?
It takes a really rubbish shift for me to crave a beer. I’m not the kind of person who craves a drink, I really crave a haloumi wrap. Which I never go and get myself, I’ll ask my boyfriend to go and get it and bring it home.
6. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have?
I don’t have breakfast unless I am at work and if I’m at work, there are always eggs involved. But yeah I am not a breakfast eater. You can either get out of bed an extra half an hour early and make breakfast when you've gotten home at 2am, or you can sleep for that extra 30 minutes and have a coffee when you get to work.
7. What is your favourite word?
Buddy - especially because I am really bad with peoples names.
8. If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday - where would you choose to do so?
I’m doing it this year, my boyfriend and I are going to San Sebastian and then we are driving to Nice, then to Turin and then to Florence. Just eat lots of food and drink lots of vermouth.
9. All at the same time or coursed out?
All at the same time, I’m a sharer.
10. What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?
Definitely more about wine. I know that I have got a fairly good comprehension about it and I have a good palate, but I would like to know more about how it is done. Why certain grapes develop different flavours, I would like to know more of the background about wine. Instead just ‘this goes with this’ I would like to tell them where it comes from. People will trust you more, knowledge is power.
11. What is the best cure for a hangover?
Crusty bread, Kettle salt & vinegar potato chips made into a sandwich with loads of butter. Also Fanta orange, but you have to shake the fizz out of it.
12. You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?
A shot of bourbon.
13. What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?
Wave me over as if they’re ready and then they’re not ready. That really bugs me.
14. Do you have any rituals during a shift?
Brushing my teeth before we start service, it wakes me up as well.
15. What’s the last film you saw?
The Judge with Robert Downey Jr. – two hours of him being funny and sexy. Watch it, it’s really really good.
16. Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant?
That’s a tough one. Restaurants are all about having an experience or a celebration. No one goes out for dinner without feeling good at some point during their meal. While working I’ve seen a son surprise his parents after being away for a couple of years. He got his sister to book the table and I was to tell the Mum and Dad ‘I’m really sorry, your table is not quite ready yet, he is just finishing his cup of tea’. The son had his newspaper in front of him but I said ‘just take a seat, it’s fine’ and then he put the newspaper down. I got really glassy eyed. I am quite heartless, but that got me. We did a wedding at Lyle's and the chief bridesmaid wrote a poem for her best friend, she has been in Australia and flew over just for the wedding and that just set me off.
17. What’s your tagline/motto?
18. Photography while eating – yay or nay?
NO! Eat the food that we serve at a good temperature, which we prepare for you to enjoy. It bugs me.
19. Rank the following in order of priority; wine, food, sex
Eating food while having sex and drinking wine. All together! Have a party!
20. What would be your last meal – drinks included.
Manhattan, it's my go to drink, I have a sip and I just melt. Then something really comforting. As much as I love Asian food it would probably be steak pie and mash, something really wholesome that comes from where I am from.
21. What makes you happy?
Realising that I am quite lucky. You read the papers and watch the news and there are so many horrible things happening in the world and I realise I don’t have any of those troubles. I live in a developed country that looks after you socially and I live in a nice house in a nice part of London, and I am really fortunate and I know that. So that is what keeps me content and keeps me happy, that I can wake up in the morning and look out the window of a really nice house beside the man that I love.
22. How do you relax?
I am a big fan of just jumping back into bed even if I am fully dressed. Like I’ve got myself all ready and I’ve got 10 minutes, I am a big fan of just putting my feet back under the covers. That really chills me out. Venting also relaxes me. Having a really good conversation with a cup of tea or a Manhattan or a glass of water. Just putting the world to right. I do it with my Granny every week, she walks me to work on a Monday, I phone her in the morning and we’ll have one of those conversations.
23. What is the background on your phone?
It is a picture of a tattoo exhibition I went to see at Somerset House, it’s of a flapper girl.
24. Favourite Instagram accounts to follow
I don’t have Instagram.
25. What is the best thing about working in hospitality?
You’re a part of someone’s celebration every night and every day. You get to watch tiny little beautiful moments which are really important to people, that will stick in their head. You won’t be a part of their memory but they are a part of yours. Like the story about the reunion of the son and his parents. I would never have seen that if I didn’t work in hospitality. I like the fact I am a part of someone’s happy time.
26. Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?
There are so many in London – I’ve only been here a year, of which I get two nights off a week. I’m not a big fancy pants kind of girl but probably The Ledbury. That is on my to do list, but I am not in any rush to do it I just know it's on my list.
27. Who is the person you most respect in the industry?
My other half. Massively. He is the most inspiring person ever. So fiercely intelligent and ridiculously talented and passionate and determined in what he does, but so shy about it and very reserved and very bashful and I love that. He’s the only person that I know really well that doesn’t throw it in peoples faces about what they do. He’s just Robin.
28. What is your go to party trick?
I can fold my tongue twice.
29. Finish this sentence: I eat everything except ...
Tomatoes. Raw ones.