Anna Barnett

Author, food writer and cook, Anna Barnett released her debut cook book, ‘Eat the Week’ in 2015 and spent several years writing ‘The Reluctant Vegetarian’ Blog for The Independent newspaper. Anna has created recipes for Vogue and curated and wrote Grazia’s food pages for the last year and now currently writes for the Evening Standard, providing recipes, food and travel content while also interviews some of the top chefs in the world. A new home in London is the start of an exciting chapter with the launch of cooking classes from Anna’s dream kitchen. We sat down with Anna to discuss her style of cooking, kitchen heroes, inspirations and why she opted for two combination steam ovens.

Your background is in TV and fashion, what sparked your interest in becoming a food writer and cook? 

I grew up in a big family where everyone helped run the house. If you cooked, you didn’t have to do the washing up, so I always cooked! When I moved to London at 18 I continued to cook, serving up big Sunday lunches and hosting everyone’s birthdays and it grew from there. I started a blog and supper clubs, permanently challenging myself. One Christmas, we served 180+ covers over three nights in the old pub I lived in. It was full on, a huge challenge but I loved it. I enjoy bringing people together, roping in anyone that also loves to cook and feeding them with food I am passionate about. 

Who are your kitchen heroes?

I have always loved Antonio Carluccio. I even got to work with him on his last book and developed some vegetarian recipes for Carluccio's. Antonio’s passion for simple, classic Italian dishes is infectious. 

Massimo Bottura is another of my heroes for his passion and bravery in introducing Italy and the rest of us to a completely new and modern approach to Italian cuisine. He faced a huge challenge in changing a whole nation’s perception towards Italian cuisine and in succeeding; inspired a new generation of chefs keen to move beyond the traditional dishes they’d grown up with.

How would you describe your style of cooking? 

Rustic, fresh and seasonal. Hearty, wholesome and vibrant. 

Anna Barnett Cooking Style 2

Has your recent big kitchen transformation changed the way you cook at home? 

Having the opportunity to create your dream kitchen is very special. Deciding how you want to use the space and how it will function practically means that there’s a fair bit of pressure to get it right! We ended up buying a place purely based on the kitchen space. We wanted an open plan design with a huge island, which is perfect for hosting and entertaining but can also be utilised to run cookery classes. I have always spent a lot of time in the kitchen but now that it is open plan, it means I never miss out on what is going on in the connecting living and dining area.

Anna Barnett's Kitchen

Why did you opt for Miele appliances and in particular combination steam ovens?

I was excited to have the flexibility to cook in a more varied way. I wanted appliances that were efficient and allowed for multiple cooking techniques and the combination steam oven has never-ending options. My day to day cooking now retains more moisture and nutrients than before and when it comes to baking, I can now easily create an impressive loaf with plenty of crunch. 

What would you say to people who think a combination steam oven is just for fish and vegetables? 

I think they would be pleasantly surprised at the versatility combination steam ovens offer for all levels of cook. You can have total control over the steam percentage whilst cooking or there are simple to follow pre-set functions, which make it really easy for optimum cooking and perfect results for those less confident.

How often do you use the combination steam oven at home? 

I am using the combination steam oven every day I am in the kitchen. I love that you can roast meats, grill fish, bake cakes and breads with a high level of humidity. There’s no need to sacrifice a crispy skin or crunch when adding and retaining moisture.

Anna Barnett Steam Cooking

Has anything surprised you using a combination steam oven at home? 

I love how you can set a programme for the oven, starting out with setting a specific time, temperature and function then add a second function to kick in once that’s finished. Being able to reduce the temperature, increase moisture amongst other options creates great results and at the time I need the food to be ready. With so many options, I thought it could be difficult to get to grips with, but it’s so easy to use and delivers every time.

Fail safe recipe when entertaining? 

When it comes to entertaining I like to have as little as possible to do in the kitchen so I can host and enjoy the evening with my guests. Preparation and a well thought out menu can mean both of the above are possible! My go to recipe is pork schnitzel with thyme butter and a vibrant herbed potato salad. All of the elements can be prepared in advance with a short cooking time. Using the combination steam oven ensures every schnitzel will be juicy on the inside and have a satisfying crunchy coating.

Anna Barnett Outdoor Table

What is next for you? 

My next big project will be launching my cookery classes, which I will be hosting this summer in my home, making the most of my Miele appliances! Covering the art of entertaining, we will be focusing on making pastas, meat free meals and how to create a feast fit for a king and your friends and family! Watch this space for dates – and follow on Instagram where I’ll be launching the classes.

Anna Barnett Miele Hob

*Main image credit - Kym Grimshaw in collaboration with Falcon Enamelware

About the Author

Food writer and author, Anna Barnett lives in East London and currently contributes to The Evening Standard, while running her own website and cookery classes. Anna has written two cookery books, ‘Eat The Week’ and ‘How to be Gluten Free and Not Lose Friends’ as well as writing a guest column for the Independent for several years entitled, ‘The Reluctant Vegetarian’ and contributing to Grazia and Vogue. Website: Instagram: @annabarnettcooks

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