From one girl boss to another meet Anna Mae – author and co-founder of London street-food favourite Anna Mae‘s. I discovered the Anna Mae Mac ‘n’ Cheese truck years ago at a food market in town and have been hooked on their super indulgent cheesy dishes ever since. From the classic Annie Mac (three-cheese macaroni) to the Kanye Western (mac with hotdog) there’s quite literally no combination I don’t like. It’s a no brainer: pasta + cheese = match made it total heaven. Read on to find out what she’d cook for dinner and why she can’t live without pickled onion Monster Munch. A girl after my own heart…
What was your initial inspiration to start Anna Mae’s?
Street food itself was pretty fledgling and American food was really just burgers and hot dogs at that time. We visited the States regularly and had eaten loads of Southern food, noticed there was nothing similar here and decided to give it a go.
What are the core values at the heart of Anna Mae’s?
I guess we always try to be authentic to who we are, be honest and be nice. Not taking things too seriously and having fun with our food is also a big part of Anna Mae’s, and we work hard at it.
Where do you find inspiration for new dishes and recipes?
Everywhere – I’m always spotting cheese pairings and noticing flavours that will match really well or be the basis of a new combo. That’s one of the exciting things about my job.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced since starting your business?
Taking a break and switching off can be really hard! There’s always work to be done, especially if you want what you do to be the best it can be, you don’t finish at 6pm and stop caring about that. Another few hours in the day would be useful!
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business?
Seeing people really enjoy our food and also loving the recipe book – when I get tagged in a pic of someone’s creation from the book it makes me super happy!
From one girl boss to another, what advice would you give you other women wanting to start their own business?
Start smart don’t put in a lot of investment into something you know nothing about, research and understand your market/product/service before you throw in all your cash. Its essential to be flexible and prepared to tinker with your idea if you find aspects of it doesn’t work, change it and pay attention to what does. And most importantly just go for it!
What is your favourite part of working for yourself?
Not having to ask for time off to go to the dentist! And answering emails in my pj’s.
If you travel a lot with your job, how do you balance work/home life?
Ha! The eternal question. I live in a transit for part of the year so I’d say I’m still working on it!
What are your future goals for the company?
We’ve never really had a fixed plan, which has allowed us to be flexible and go for opportunities when they have come up. Its worked for us so far so I’m excited to see what’s round the corner.
What do you enjoy doing to relax after a stressful day?
Go for a walk with my French bulldog Albus. We chat about the day, I ask him about his, I look bonkers.
Talk us through your day in food: do you have time for breakfast in the morning?
I’m not a breakfast person but if I am trying to be good I’ll do overnight oats or a smoothie, lunch will be whatever is convenient/left-over/close to hand as I’m generally pretty busy and I eat a lot of salad so something green. Quite dull but I also eat out a lot so that compensates!
What is your favourite meal of the day?
Dinner is the thing I look forward to most. It’s not just my favourite meal it’s my favourite thing.
Where are your favourite places to eat out?
I love the Bull & Last in Highgate for good food and a lovely pub after a long dog walk, Trullo in Highbury is lush and Church St market on a Saturday has the best kebab stall that I’ve been going to for years. Sorts a hangover right out.
If we came over for dinner, what would you serve us?
We’d probably get the BBQ out and cook a big joint on there with lots of sides and booze.
Besides pasta and cheese, are there any specific ingredients you couldn’t live without?
Chocolate Yazoo and pickled onion Monster Munch. And coffee.