Shauna Froydenlund spent 15 years working with Marcus Waring at the Berkeley. She is guest judge at this year’s Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year competition, presented by La Rousse Foods.
This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Hospitality Ireland Magazine, in July of 2022.
Tell us about your new project.
We don’t have anything set in stone yet. We’re just getting our heads around living in a new city while on the hunt for a new restaurant venture!
How has the last year been for you?
It’s been a great year – lots of changes, primarily leaving London, our home for 15 years, and the birth of our second daughter in April.
Tell us about your career so far.
Since my teenage years, I’ve been working in hospitality. My dad and aunt are both restaurateurs, and – despite their warnings – I was determined to follow them.
I completed a degree in hospitality management with culinary arts from Sheffield Hallam University. I’ve just moved home from London, where I spent the last 15 years working for Marcus Wareing.
What was your best professional decision?
Taking some time out from restaurant kitchens and working in a cookery school. Not only did teaching give me a huge confidence boost, we also had an amazing amount of time set aside for recipe and food development – a luxury I wasn’t used to.
What was your most challenging moment?
In my early career, the hours we worked were, by far, the most physically demanding challenges I have had to endure – four hours’ sleep per night was standard.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
This is a tricky one, as I’m sure there are many! When I first started cooking in London, I went to the bathroom and was so tired that I fell asleep in the changing room. My sous-chef came and found me!
What three attributes do you wish you had?
Being able to leave work at work; being better at going to bed early, when the opportunity arises; and the ability to brush negative comments off – I can take things too personally at times.
What is your favourite pub?
McGrory’s, Culdaff, Donegal.
Your favourite drink?
Champagne at breakfast, Guinness at any other time.
What was your worst job?
I did some contract catering work with an agency in front of house when I was a student. It was mainly in sports stadiums.
What was so bad about it?
For me, it’s not what hospitality is about. It was a long time ago, but back then, we were just treated as a body doing a service, as opposed to delivering a really special experience.
One other job you’d like to do?
Something connected to horses. I love riding and was lucky enough to have horses growing up. They are amazing creatures.
Do you have any pet hates?
Aside from a poorly organised dishwasher – this refers to both my home and work dishwasher! – rudeness and bad manners. There’s no excuse!
What is your business motto?
Look after your team, and they’ll look after you.
The best advice that you ever received?
Ask as many questions as possible.
With which fictional character do you most identify?
Paddington Bear! I can relate to his trusting nature and optimism.
Your recipe for a successful restaurant?
I think it would be the same as for any food business: make sure you understand your captive/target market and deliver them what they want.
What do Irish hotels do best?
A warm and genuine welcome.
Are Irish people good customers?
They’re the best – warm, friendly – and you can always count on them to be honest. I love that.
Your death-row meal?
The most enjoyable part of your career?
Running a Michelin-starred restaurant was an absolute honour, but it’s the amazing people that we’ve had in our team that really make it special. I’ve a big passion for teaching and mentoring the next generation of talent, so being a part of competitions like Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2022 is really important to me.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
Not making it through to the finals of the Great British Menu. I loved being part of the competition, but can’t help feeling disappointed I didn’t make it through.
––Nothing is more important than …?