OL Spotlight
James Sharp (2012)
Tuesday 19th March 2024

For our latest OL Spotlight we're delighted to feature James Sharp (2012), chef, founder of Hash Hut and contestant on MasterChef: The Professionals 2023.

To find out more, follow James on Instagram @hash_hut.

Q1. What led to you becoming a chef?

"It was a strange path, to be honest. I’d say that what kept me in the kitchen is more interesting that what brought me there in the first place. After a Politics degree and a couple of ski seasons cooking, I realised how flexible cooking could make my life. Once I was in the kitchen, I quickly fell in love with the intensity of it all; the nowhere-to-hide approach to the work, and the raw passion that fuels the industry and fires the grills. It's addictive, and takes real character and dedication to make a name for yourself. I liked that a lot."

Q2. How did you find competing on MasterChef: The Professionals?

“MasterChef was great! It was one of those things that I always watched and, of course, critiqued. I thought, if I'm going to sit there saying I could do better, I best go and prove it. Filming was bang in the middle of festival season for my food business, Hash Hut, so in all honesty, as soon as I got into the studio, turned my phone off and only had to focus on cooking, it was almost calming. Compared to serving thousands of people at festivals, that is! The team was amazing as well, and being around people with similar visions and drive is always an incredible motivator.”

Q3. What’s next for you?

"There are a fair few things in the pipeline at the moment. We have our Hash Hut site in Covent Garden ticking away and we're looking to expand on this. We’ve also just partnered with All Star Lanes, a multi-site bowling and leisure business in London, to take on some of their food offering with Hash Hut. Plus a very busy festival and events season. For my personal cooking journey, there are a few collaborations and residencies in the works, but I’m afraid I'll have to keep those a surprise!"

James' time at Loretto:

“Believe it or not, Loretto was where I sold my first ever bit of hot food in Seton’s kitchen at morning break. I was in Fifth Form at the time and when everyone else was starting fizzy drink tuck shops I decided, with my friend Ian, to step it up and buy a George Foreman grill. And so McSharps Grill was born!

Every morning break and after Prep, we sold steak sandwiches and rolls with bacon £1 extra. It was a genuine pleasure and even fueled a few Housemasters and teachers along the way! Unfortunately, we were shut down by the powers that be just as we branched out to wings and ribs. Recipe development in our dorm room was somewhat frowned upon and ultimately ended our first business. It was a short but oh so sweet run and, if memory serves, surprisingly lucrative!”

Future OL Spotlights

To be featured yourself or to nominate someone else, please get in touch at society@loretto.com.

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