At the tail end of last year, myself and Nicola spent an action packed weekend in London. We took in a west end show, managed a bit of sightseeing and shopping, and even found time to knock back a few drinks, but the highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly our trip to the two Michelin star restaurant, Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, where we enjoyed our best ever dining experience.
As one of the country’s finest chefs, Marcus Wareing has a rather formidable CV.Not only did he achieve his first Michelin star in his twenties but he has gone on to win several more, for several different restaurants. He currently holds two Michelin stars for his eponymous restaurant Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley.
During his career Wareing has won many accolades including Restaurateur of the Year at the Tatler Restaurant Awards and was named Chef of the Year by GQ and the AA Restaurant Guide in 2009. He was crowned winner on the BBC’s Great British Menu for his desert, a wonderful English custard tart, which saw him cook at the Queen’s 80th birthday banquet.
Marcus has appeared as a judge in later series of the programme and has also been seen as a guest on Masterchef and Saturday Kitchen.Unlike many high-profile chefs Wareing still regularly cooks in his own restaurants and can often be seen in the kitchen at The Berkeley.
On the back of the fantastic time that we had in London, I made contact with the restaurant to see whether Marcus would be interested in taking time out to answer '5 Questions' for Gerry's Kitchen, and after a few tweets back and forth, I was delighted that Marcus said yes!
Here's Marcus Wareing's story;How did you get started?
I first started working for my father at the age of 10, helping him on his rounds as a food and vegetable merchant. However, my first glimpse inside a restaurant was through my older brother, who ran a local restaurant, and I became entranced. I went to a catering college at 16 and my career really began at The Savoy when I was 18. As my experience grew with it came the opportunity to train with some of the greatest French masters including Albert Roux, who I worked for at Le Gavroche.
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
My father was a perfectionist and a workaholic who taught me to invest wisely. This is something I have held onto, hard work and sacrifice is the best advice I could give. I would also maintain that as a business grows, you grow with it - always make the most of the wealth of experience from people around you.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
We have a very exciting year ahead of us. I have just closed Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley to carry out an extensive renovation, we will re-open on March 24th as 'Marcus' and I cannot wait to get started. I have been at the Berkeley for 10 years now and with the new 'Marcus' I intend to do it better than I ever have before. I am looking to redefine fine dining in London, making it more accessible, friendly and engaging, whilst continuing to deliver the food to the same exacting standards we have become known for.
The Gilbert Scott is going from strength to strength. Kings Cross is an amazing part of London to be in, there is such enormous growth in the area and being one of the first to get in before the 'rush' has really helped solidify our place and reputation in this brilliant London hot-spot. I want to keep expanding and growing, whilst maintaining our high standards and reputation.If you could only cook one of your own recipes, what would it be & why?
I love spending time with my children in the kitchen, they have such enthusiasm and it is great quality family time. So I’d have to choose a dish which I know they would enjoy and we could have fun making together. I recently made a pea and mushroom risotto with my son, Jake, it’s a great dish to teach children about good, tasty, grown-up food!
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
Margaret Thatcher, I love her gutsy approach, can you imagine what you could learn from her over a one-on-one lunch and how much fun it would be!
I would serve her a roast leg of lamb with minted new potatoes and beautiful spring carrots. For pudding, it would have to be whisky ice-cream- we all know her fondness for a fine whisky so I would probably make it with Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve.
Marcus has spent his entire adult life within the restaurant industry, growing in stature with each passing year. He has cooked for royalty, hollywood stars, top sportsmen & women, as well as countless members of the public, with the changes at the new restaurant aimed at making fine dining something that everyone can enjoy. Myself and Nicola were fortunate enough to enjoy a wonderful afternoon within the claret walled dining room of the old restaurant and now need to start planning our next trip to London in order see what the new fine dining approach at 'Marcus' looks and feels like.
The coming years are expected to be exciting times. With the rebrand and launch of 'Marcus' and the continued relationship with The Berkeley, and whilst The Gilbert Scott goes from strength to strength, I fully expect Marcus Wareing to be a name synonymous with fine dining for many years to come.
I would like to take this moment to thank Marcus for taking the time to answer the '5 Questions', especially with so much going on since the restaurant closed its doors on 18th January.
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