Get to know Anna

Anna Hansen’s food is fresh and adventurous – you might even call it modern.
Anna Hansen’s rise to the top reads very much like a rags to riches fairytale. Well, not so much “rags” as “a degree in Business Management” and “a skip over the pond”. Anna was born in Canada and raised in New Zealand, but after the business degree she felt at a loose end. So she came to the UK in 1992 and found a job as a dishwasher in The French House Dining Room, then run by Fergus Henderson. But it wasn’t long before she was running the show.

“We knew all along that she was clever,” said Fergus, “So we heaped responsibility on her.”

Anna proved she could handle it. Following The French House, she went on to work with Peter Gordon, with whom she eventually partnered to open their award-winning restaurant, The Providores, in 2001. But it was her own venture, The Modern Pantry, opened in 2005, that really saw Anna grow into her own as a chef.

Anna describes the place as “happy and fresh”, but she shies away from the word “fusion”.

“What does fusion mean? A fusion of what, exactly? Every cuisine is a fusion of something.”

In that case, her cuisine is undoubtedly a blend of global flavours, unusual ingredients, exquisite cooking, beautiful plating and, importantly, a bit of fun. It all reflects Anna’s drive to excite the palate by turning the tables on everyday cooking with global inspiration and modern ingredients, indeed, the modern pantry.

Anna Hansen was given an MBE in the 2012 honours list for her services to the restaurant industry.