Thirty-three-year-old Anna Choonpicharn is Operations Manager at Pizza Pilgrims. If you haven't already heard of them (seriously, where have you been?) Pizza Pilgrims is the Napoli-inspired pizzeria that has taken London by storm. At their Kingly Court branch, Anna tells us about life as a chef, which items are always in her fridge and her ultimate pizza topping.
ELLE: How did you get into cooking? A: My dad had a Thai restaurant when I was a kid, so we've always had a big foodie family, and I've worked in hospitality since I was a teenager. When I moved to London in 2009, I was working as a waitress, and my sister used to work for Thom Elliot, who was the owner of Pizza Pilgrims. She told me they were looking for staff for the restaurant on Dean Street, so I came to work for them. ELLE: So you haven't had any formal training? A: No, just here at the pizzeria. Pizza Pilgrims are really good at allowing people to develop within the company. We have a lot of people that started on one role and then have come up and done different things. ELLE: What's the best thing about where you work? A: I think the culture. It's a really positive environment. A lot of people are here for long periods of time, so its generated a really nice culture. ELLE: Who inspires you? A: My Dad. He'll make and try anything. ELLE: Have you experienced any difficulties, being a woman in a male-dominated industry? There are so many more high-profile female chefs, so I don't think it's as uncommon as [it was] when there was that period of Gordon Ramsey being very macho in the kitchen. I think things are changing. ELLE: Where do you see yourself in the future? A: I'd love to have my own restaurant and I also really love gardening, so I would like to have a place where I could grow my own produce and cook it. That would be so amazing. ELLE: What's your favourite food? A: It's really hard because I love pizza but I'll always have a soft spot for noodles. ELLE: What's your favourite pizza topping? A: Margherita. You've got to stick to the classics. I was eating the aubergine pizza for a very long time, but a margherita with fresh chilli is my favourite. ELLE: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? A: Oh wow. That's really hard. Probably pasta and parmesan. I eat that most evenings. ELLE: What item is always in your fridge? A: Probably spinach. And avocados. I have avocados every day. I just love them. ELLE: Finally, what's your top chef tip? A: I think simplicity, definitely from a pizza point of view. I think if you have the good ingredients, that will make the flavour and the taste of the dish better, rather than over complicating it. Pizza Pilgrims goodies can be bought in London exclusively via the Take Eat Easy app and www.takeeateasy.co.uk.