Flash-grilled: Anna Søgaard

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Bistro Freddie head chef Anna Søgaard on not rushing your career and the best drink to pair with fried chicken

Related tags Anna Søgaard Chef London Bistro Freddie

The Bistro Freddie head chef on why she doesn't like Nickelback being played in the kitchen, not rushing your career, and the best drink to pair with fried chicken.

What was your first industry job?
My first job was cooking shellfish a la plancha and shucking oysters at a little place called Oysters & Grill in Copenhagen. It was such a fun place

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
If I weren't cooking in a restaurant, I'd probably be doing something food adjacent like working for a supplier or developing recipes. I do genuinely love food.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
I really admire chefs who stand for something and try to make the industry a better place. I've always admired Daniella Soto Innes for not only her cooking, but her advocating for inclusivity in the industry.

What’s your pet hate in the kitchen?
When people tear tape for labels instead of cutting it and when people let their timers go instead of silencing them right away. It bothers me so much that it's become a bit of a joke in the kitchen at Bistro Freddie!

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
A customer once asked me if I would consider trying her cricket samples in a recipe. I have a hard time saying no to people so all of a sudden I was receiving cricket mince in the mail.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Unfussy and comforting with lots of butter.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
Since this is my first head chef role and we've only just opened, we've been lucky enough to not have had any bad press yet. Knock on wood!

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Don't rush! Learn the work, climb the ranks and take your time. It was the best advice I received when I was a young chef starting out and I'm glad I didn't take on a senior chef role before I was ready.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
It changes for every role and every kitchen I've worked in. Right now, it's spoons as I'm always tasting things that the chefs make. Somehow I never have enough.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Fish and chips with curry sauce, mushy peas and all the malt vinegar.

À la carte or tasting menu?
À la carte.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
This is going to sound biased, but the last time I ate at my fiancé Nathan's restaurant The Silver Birch (in Chiswick), it was the most outstanding meal I've had in a long time. His crab and crumpet dish is definitely the best dish I've eaten all year.

What’s your favourite fast food joint?
That is a tough one because I haven't had great fast food in the UK yet. Gasoline grill in Copenhagen is still the best burger I've ever eaten, but most of my favourite fast-food chains are back in the states.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Probably a classic steak tartare. When done well, it's the most delicious thing.

MasterChef ​or Great British Menu​?
Great British Menu​.

What’s the most overrated food?
There's not much I won't eat, however, everyone I know loves eating bananas, but I absolutely despise them.

You're a restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
There is definitely some music I would ban. Some of my chefs like playing Nickelback during prep, which is a vibe killer for me. Sorry Nickelback.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
Stanley Tucci would be up there for sure.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Eating strawberries with cream when I was a kid in Denmark. It was pure bliss.

Twitter or Instagram?

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
I can't say I've ever come close to a near death experience, but when I was a kid a motorcycle hit me when I was on my bike, which ended in stitches.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
I love sitting for hours with my close friends at the pub with loads of Guinness and belly laughs.

What’s your tipple of choice?
Guinness or a good negroni.

What’s your favourite food and drink pairing?
I'm not a big Champagne drinker, but Champagne and fried chicken is an excellent combination.

What do you consider to be your signature dish?
Probably our fried plaice with curry sauce at Bistro Freddie. It's an homage to fish and chips which is my favourite dish and the first thing I ever ate when I first came to London.

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