How I Got Here: Ana Gonçalves

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Ana Gonçalves co-founder of nomadic pop up concept TĀ TĀ Eatery on her career

Related tags Ana Gonçalves London Mr Ji Restaurant Chef TĀ TĀ Eatery

The co-founder of nomadic pop up concept TĀ TĀ Eatery on the need for better margins in restaurant businesses, Nuno Mendes, and why she chose a career in hospitality.

Why hospitality?
Just an extension from my parents - growing up my house was always full of people and food, my mum cooked and my dad entertained.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
Be disciplined with your personal time.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants?
JKS.

What motivates you?
Sharing ideas and craftsmanship - I guess, expressing myself. 

What keeps you up at night?
Everything that I could have done better - it’s A LOT!

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the hospitality business?
Nuno Mendes, he has this magic about him that can truly inspire you. He never stops dreaming.

What time do you wake up?
Around 7:30am. 

Coffee or tea?
Tea.

How often do you check your email?
Never stop checking.

How do you let off steam?
Taking care of my plants

Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?
Sofa!

What’s your signature dish to cook at home?
Portuguese-style chicken stew with loads of tomato and oregano served with baby potatoes and watercress salad.

Typical Sunday?
Meng is grilling a whole fish and we have friend over drinking wine. 

Favourite holiday destination?
The south west coast of Portugal.

What are you currently reading?
A Radical Awakening​ by DR Shefali. 

What boxset are you currently watching?
The Last of Us​ and Severance​.

What was your dream job growing up?
Vet.

What's been your best business decision?
Opening TĀ TĀ Eatery.

And the worst?
To be honest I never had one that I truly regret.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Make sure you look at your numbers before you dive in, if that is not your thing ask for help. It will save you time and lots of headaches. Also use your instinct when choosing your business partners. 

If you could change one thing about the hospitality industry today, what would it be?
Better margins so we could pay people properly, provide better experiences for employees and customers. The food chain is severely broken with crazy rises that cannot be sustained.

Bio

Born in Lisbon, Gonçalves studied Graphic Design at Design, Technology and Communication - IADE in Lisbon then in 2009, and came to London to study Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu. After that she worked with Nuno Mendes at the Loft project as a commis chef and later helped him open Viajante in Bethnal Green. She continued to work with Mendes, rising through the ranks of the kitchen until she eventually became prep kitchen manager at Chiltern Firehouse. In 2016, together with Zijun Meng, she launched TĀ TĀ Eatery. Since then, Gonçalves and Meng have been running pop ups and residencies under the brand. More recently they have also been working as restaurants consultants, helping to launch brands including Mr Ji and Korean Dinner Party in the capital. They are now in the process of planning more TĀ TĀ Eatery residencies, beginning with a one month pop up at The Sea, The Sea in Hackney between 10 July and 2 August. To find out more about the residency and to book, click here​.

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