StyleNest met up with Marcus Wareing, to see what it’s really like in the kitchen of a celebrated, Michelin star chef.
From working for his father’s fruit and veg business in the North West of England to The Savoy at 18, head chef at just 25 to two Michelin stars – Marcus Wareing has worked his way right to the top of the British restaurant industry.
The much-loved, British chef has become one of the most celebrated in the country, currently working between his main restaurant Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley and the Gilbert Scott. As well as finding time to write a new book and popping up on our TV screens in hit cookery shows such as BBC’s Great British Menu.
StyleNest had the pleasure of taking up five minutes of Marcus’ time to find out just what it’s like to don the chef’s whites of a two Michelin starred chef.
You’ve just launched a new book, The Gilbert Scott Book of British Food. Tell us a little about it.
It’s a book of British classic, yet modern recipes, and the story of an historic building built in 1863, which is now the Gilbert Scott. We are proud to have a restaurant in such a beautiful setting and the story needed telling.
The book is full of great British classics from pies to puddings. What’s your favourite British comfort food?
My favorite would probably be soles in coffins, which is sole with mashed potato. It’s tasty and so easy to eat.
There are some great nostalgic recipes in the book like treacle tart and classic pork pies. What are your childhood memories of food and mealtimes?
My memories were of my mum cooking each day and my brother, two sisters, my mum and me all sitting down to eat it. She would then cook again for dad when he got home from work. The best time was the weekend when he sat down to eat with us – he never let any of us leave anything on the plate.
The book represents the food and drink of The Gilbert Scott restaurant and bar – a favourite here at StyleNest. What’s your favourite on the menu?
Favourite dish? It’s so hard to choose. Maybe the fish and chips or the rib of beef for two.
How did you get into the world of food?
Food was always around me, my mum cooked, my dad was a fruit and potato merchant, and my brother, who is seven years older than me, went to catering college and then into local kitchens. Even one of my sisters started working in food so it was kind of inevitable.
Who taught you to cook?
Every chef I have ever worked under and the teams around them. Of course I went to college first for the basics but the true learning was from kitchens.
You also have your own restaurant at London’s Berkeley Hotel. The menu is more contemporary than that of the Gilbert Scott. Tell us a little about the dining experience and menu there.
Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley is about me and the food that I cook. It is contemporary in a fine dining setting, although the room is something we hope to update in the near future. We have two Michelin stars and we try to offer every guest exceptional hospitality in a luxurious setting with fine food.
The Gilbert Scott has also just launched a Gin Garden. What’s your favourite gin cocktail?
The A-pear-atif. It’s a delicious, fresh summery cocktail that I now know how to make at home.
What are your three must-have store cupboard products you’d recommend we invest in?
Maldon salt, a good olive oil and a black pepper mill.
Where have been some of the best restaurants you’ve eaten in?
In New York, Tokyo, Chicago, recently in northern Spain, and of course, London. To be honest, a good meal is based on the whole experience, the company, the food, the venue – so many have been excellent.
Have you always dreamt big? Was it the master plan to have your very own restaurant and two Michelin stars?
I think I started to think big when I went to work for Gordon Ramsay. I realised it was something that I could achieve.
Despite the recession and people’s purses having to be a little tighter, London’s food scene has never been better. Why do you think that is?
Food is more available, accessible and diverse and generally at the right price.
When you’re not working what do you like to do in London?
I like to run or cycle, or just relax at home. Going to the cinema with the kids is great fun and we have a forthcoming theatre trip with the kids, which will be a day out for us all.
What’s your ultimate food weakness?
Fine wine, chocolate and eating out.
Do you have a no-fuss, quick and easy midweek meal you can give our readers?
A four, free-range egg, omelette. Salt, pepper, little bit of milk, cheese and cooked in a non-stick pan with olive oil. Perfect.
What’s next for you and the Marcus Wareing team?
We’re focusing on refurbishing the restaurant at The Berkeley early next year and a few other things up our sleeve too, so watch this space.