Your MoneyMe & My Money

‘I doubt I’ll ever spend as much on one thing again’

Me & My Money: Anna Haugh, restaurateur and judge on BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals

Dublin-born Anna Haugh is a restaurateur and a judge on BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals. She operates two restaurants – Myrtle Restaurant, London, and Anna Haugh at the Conrad Dublin.

Are you a saver or a spender?

From a young age, Mam and Dad gave us incentives to save so I’m quite comfortable watching the pennies but also spending the pounds.

Do you shop around for better value?


Value is in the eye of the beholder. Knowing what your budget is, what you want and how long you want it to last should tell you how much it should cost. Value comes in lots of forms, and it’s always good to do a bit of research on what you’re buying, making sure you really want it and that you yourself think it’s good value.

What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

I opened my London-based Myrtle Restaurant in 2019 and I doubt I’ll ever spend as much on one thing again.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

Our little dog, who is a cross between a pug and shih tzu. We knew we would love a dog but the joy she has brought into our lives is worth 1,000 holidays.

How did you prefer to shop during the Covid-19 restrictions – online or local?

I always believe in buying local. If you can’t buy locally, then you should support a business you believe in.

Do you haggle over prices?

Ah, I’m not a great haggler, but I’m good at knowing what the value is in something and being willing to pay that. If someone starts a bid that is way off that then I’m not interested in the wrangle or, indeed, squeezing a company into a deal that will be a loss for them.

How has the Covid-19 crisis changed your spending habits?

I was under a lot of pressure to protect my business. I had to batten down the hatches. Spending was avoided and repurposing was a focus.

Do you invest in shares?

No. My parents bought us all, four kids, some shares many years ago, but they didn’t come to flourish.

Cash or card?

Card. Well, iPhone actually.

What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

I bought a reMarkable, a digital writing tablet. It was a big spend, but I write a lot of recipes on the go on paper and then have to retype them later. The tablet translates the handwriting into text and I can save the recipes without retyping. That saves me a lot of time, making it very valuable.

Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

Absolutely – when I bought my flat back in 2013, after years and years of saving.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?

No, not really. In saying that, opening a second restaurant now in the Conrad Hotel In Dublin would show that perhaps I am. Any restaurant is a gamble, however, and all you can do is pour yourself into the business and hope it works out.

Is money important to you?

Without money we wouldn’t have food, heat or clothes. And at the moment it takes a lot of money to cover the basics, making it more important than ever, which is really sad. But money for money’s sake doesn’t motivate me. Once we can cover our bills and if we can save a little extra for a rainy day, then I think we are on the pig’s back.

How much money do you have on you now?

I have £10 and €11 that I’m tracking back from Dublin to London via boat. It’s to buy coffees if they don’t take cards.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture