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A brigade of formidable female chefs will take centre stage at Ella Canta in November.

As part of this year’s Mayfair and St James’s Literary Festival, Ella Canta’s celebrated Mexican chef Martha Ortiz will be joined by British Chef Angela Hartnett, Spanish Chef Nieves Barragán, British-Chinese chef and author, Ching-He Huang, and Kenyan-born chef and food writer, Ravinder Bhogal.

Over cocktails at Ella Canta, at the InterContinental Park Lane hotel restaurant, the panel will discuss the recipe books that inspired them. They will also talk about their culinary heritage and what it takes to make it in the industry.

“We are honoured and delighted to be hosting this inspiring and intriguing conversation in Ella Canta,” said Martha. She said it would include “some of the most talented and interesting culinary female forces from across the globe in association with the Mayfair Times“.

“Literature has played a major part in my journey through food – from the cookbook about Frida Kahlo’s favourite Mexican recipes to the classical work The Mexican Cook published in 1888. “Not only do stories inspire my creations, but they also continue to educate me about the endless possibilities existing in narratives, through the melody of poetry and colours of novels,” Martha said.

Angela Hartnett - Murano

Angela Hartnett, MBE, is one of the UK’s most loved chefs and restaurateurs, known for her sophisticated yet simple, Italy-inspired cooking. Born in Britain, her passion for good, honest food and the best ingredients was instilled in her by her Italian grandmother and mother.

After starting out in the kitchens at Aubergine, Zafferano, L’Oranger and Petrus, Angela became head chef at Petrus within seven short months, helping the restaurant to achieve a Michelin star. She went on to launch Amaryllis in Scotland; Verre in Dubai; Menu and The Grill Room at The Connaught, with Gordon Ramsay.

In 2007 Angela was awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality industry, and the following year she opened her own restaurant, Murano in Mayfair, where she is Chef Proprietor, and holds a Michelin star. Murano is one of the few restaurants to hold 4 AA rosettes and was included in the Good Food Guide’s Top 50 restaurants for 2015.


Nieves Barragán Mohacho - Sabor

Nieves grew up in Bilbao, the largest city within the Basque region of Spain, learning from an early age about the regions produce and cuisine. Nieves moved to London in 1998, starting in the kitchen at Simply Nico, before joining the Harts Restaurant Group in 2003. In 2007 Nieves became the group’s Executive Chef ahead of the launch of the first Barrafina restaurant on London’s Frith Street. As Executive Chef of Barrafina for ten years, Nieves oversaw the launch of two further Barrafina restaurants (Adelaide Street/Drury Lane) and in 2014 was awarded a Michelin Star. In 2018, Nieves was awarded her own Michelin Star for Sabor.


Ching-He Huang - Chinese food

Ching-He Huang will also discuss her latest book Wok On, and what inspires her to keep on writing about Chinese culture and developing recipes. She said: “Through my recipes and writing cookbooks, I am able to recreate and reconnect with a part of my family history, identity, memories, culture and my values.”


Ravinder Bhogal - Jikoni

Ravinder, who was born in Kenya to Indian parents, runs much-loved Marylebone restaurant Jikoni. Inspired by the abundance of quality ingredients in Kenya, Ravinder serves a refined version of home cooking in her Blandford Street restaurant. She made her name when she was referred to as “the new Fanny Craddock” by Gordon Ramsay on his TV show, The F Word. 

“A quote I love, from one of my favourite authors Jean Rhys, is ‘reading makes immigrants of us all’. “It takes us away from home, but more importantly it finds homes for us everywhere. “I really relate this quote to the London restaurant scene and how diverse it is. It makes immigrants of us all and takes us away from home, while giving us all a home. “This quote is key to our philosophy and how we cook at Jikoni.”

Tales from the Kitchen, 4pm-5.30pm on Friday, November 1 at Ella Canta, One Hamilton Place.
Tickets cost £15 and include a margarita.
Click here to book.