Who is Anna Haugh, MasterChef: The Professionals 2022 judge?

Alex South

Alex South


Irish Chef Anna Haugh replaced Monica Galetti's place as a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals 2022, after the chef owner of Mere restaurant announced that she would not be taking part in this year's series in april.

Anna Haugh is the chef and owner of Myrtle restaurant in Chelsea, London.

She started her career at Derry Clake's Dublin restaurant, and has since worked for the likes of Gualtiero Marchesi, Shane Osborn and Phil Howard.

She was a head chef at Gordon Ramsay Holdings before flying solo to open her own site in 2019.

Anna has become a familiar face on television, having acted as a guest judge on Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, starred as part of the relaunch of Ready, Steady, Cook, and makes regular appearances on Saturday Kitchen.

We sat down with Anna to find out how shes's enjoyed her first year judging MasterChef: The Professionals. 

How did you find your first-year judging MasterChef: The Professionals?

Anna: Honestly, I didn't know what I was getting in for!

Obviously, I'm a big fan of the show, it's a brilliant show. I knew it was a well organized, produced show but it just exceeded all of my expectations in people who are involved with making but also in how I was kind of taken care of and encouraged. It really exceeded all of my expectations.

That's not to say it was easy, it was not a cakewalk but it definitely was worth the effort that I had to put into it.

What was the most surprising thing about working on the programme this year?

Anna: The idea that those chefs they get a limited amount of time and what they produce in that time resulted in them getting to stay or go. I thought that was really, really fantastic.

What was your favourite moment working on the programme?

Anna: Meeting the winner! Come on, is there is there a better time in the show?!

It was definitely seeing a chef grow and develop and really shine before our eyes and then be crowned the champion.

What was it like working with Marcus Wareing?

Anna: Listen, when I was doing my skills test, and Greg and Marcus were watching me, I'm not going to lie that was definitely pretty intense but it was a pleasure to work with Marcus and Greg. It was an absolute pleasure.

When you're in good company, people who are great at their job, enjoy working positive attitude towards the day ahead, how could you not enjoy yourself? It was it was really, really great.

They're also so good at what they do, as I was working with them I was also learning from them, which is a huge bonus.


It's all about the graft.

How hard you've worked before you enter into the competition, and then how hard you're willing to work after you get in if you get it.

This is the key.

Any chef who's worked more than a couple of years in our industry really understands our industry stands on graft.

Harder we work, the more skilled we become, our hands become more skilled, we become more instinctive, you create a version of autopilot and this is what will stand to you when you enter into such a nervous, fast moving environment, which is what the MasterChef kitchen is.

So you really want to be trained before you would ever try to enter, and the more experience the better chance you have. But also you need to know what food you passionately believe in.

It's not just about pretty food, it's not just about things that taste nice, it's actually more detailed than that. It needs to be food that is sincere and it represents the cook and that's really difficult to know.

Lots of chefs think they know how to do good food because they can make things taste nice or look nice but really it's about being a more well rounded you as a chef, you need to be well rounded.

Practice and eat everything you practice, practice and eat everything your practice

You can make something look good but you've got to eat all of the ingredients together to tell the story.

Individual things that taste good separately does not make a dish, so you must eat your food. You must also enjoy your food, and you must cook it for other people.

You can't just create food in your head, you've got to understand the experience of your dishes and that's about eating. So again it's more graft.

You got through? Well you need to be practicing your dishes, you need to be really working and pushing yourself to create the most detailed foods that you know your skills will allow you and that's practice, practice, practice, it's hard.

do not Beat yourself up when you make a mistake

There's no benefit and I have no interest seeing it.

If you beat yourself up, it's not good for your mindset.

Everything in life, your day, if you enter into a competition like MasterChef, you enter into because you want to fulfill your potential and you want to succeed, and you want to protect your mental health during that time as well and that's really about the voice in your head, how you speak to yourself.

A chef that berates themselves over and over again will never actually fulfill their potential because they're holding themselves back.

So, make your mistake, see your mistake, own it, and learn from it and move on. That's it.

For a competition like that, it's really easy to crumble and just focus on the negatives, and it's really the positives that will pull you through.

Master time management

I wrote the time I expected to do my job and then I watched my time either on a timer or on my clock in the kitchen to see if I could beat that time.

If I had dramatically exceeded that time it was a great learning curve because I was like, 'Okay, I need to organise myself because I'm not going to be able to get this done, and I did that for years and even right up until when I was a head chef, I still was using timings because of the prediction of how the rest of the kitchen would work as I was trying to carry them through.

Being hyper-aware of how long it takes you to chop one bunch of chives will tell you how you and your chef will probably take twice that time, and it's understanding timing that's what makes me good at timing but you only learn that by watching yourself by going through and recording stuff.

Matching Expectations

We all go to a restaurant, we have expectations, and then we're blown away. The truth is you're blown away because everything makes sense.

Have a cuisine that you're passionate about, hone your skills, believe in yourself, and practice what you want to cook again and again, and again.

What will result in that is beautiful, well-timed, delicious and hopefully elegant food.

We're not trying to push people into little boxes, we want them to give us the food that matters to them. It's amazing how a person can cook and they can put their personality and their feeling into a dish.

Even classic combinations we've seen before, a certain turn of a hand and it can just feel different, and that's what we're looking for.

We're looking for food that represents people, we're not looking for anything fashion lead, we're not looking for fads, we're looking for food that people really believe it is delicious and interesting.


Is Anna Haugh in a relationship?

Anna's partner is Richard Elwell, or Rich as she prefers to call him. Speaking on the Grilled podcast, Anna says Rich is her “partner in crime” and described him as “very good looking and very funny”.

Does Anna Haugh have children?

Anna welcomed her first son with Rich in 2021 and named him Oisín Ronnie Elwell. He also has another son named Henry from a previous relationship.

Anna has previously discussed how Richard’s relationship with Henry had made him a better father for the young Oisín.

What is Anna Haugh at Conrad Dublin

In September 2022, Anna announced she would be launching a new pop-up in parternship with luxury Irish hotel Conrad Dublin known as Conrad Dublin & Anna Haugh pop up.

Since opening its doors to the public on October 25, the new pop up has offered elegant modern dining using the finest Irish produce.

Does Myrtle have a Michelin star?

Myrtle does not yet have a Michelin star, but Anna has broad experience working in Michelin star kitchens, including Pied a Terre and The Square.

Speaking to The Staff Canteen, Anna admitted that gaining a star is not a focus for her and instead saying would like to concentrate on cooking food that she thinks is delicious, “find new ingredients from Ireland” that she thinks are interesting and try to “listen to what I think my customers want."

Has Anna Haugh written a book?

Anna Haugh does not currently have a book published.

However, she has previously stated that is something she is working on and would like to release in the future.

Talking about this, Anna said: “I don't know when it will be out but it'll be out in the next while.”


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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 8th December 2022

Who is Anna Haugh, MasterChef: The Professionals 2022 judge?