International chef Marcus Wareing of The Berkeley, London, presented alongside Peter Doyle, Alex Stupak, Tetsuya Wakuda and Peter Gilmore in the Contemporary Creative programs of this year’s World Chef Showcase at the 2010 Crave Sydney International Food Festival.
You may have heard about Marcus’s well publicised breakup after 15 years with Gordon Ramsay in 2008. In this interview we talk about Marcus’ food vision, chef knives and his latest books.
STEPHANIE HUDSON: After 15 years working with Gordon Ramsay and earning Two Michelin Stars at Petrus, you decided to make your own path and in 2008 opened Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, retaining your two star status. How has your food changed since the Petrus days. How would you describe Marcus Wareing cuisine as at 2010?
MARCUS WAREING: What I put on the plate has evolved over time however my philosophy has remained the same, it’s about maximising the natural flavour and texture of great ingredients. Food trends have changed and with the internet the world is becoming a much smaller place which allows us to research things at a greater length and find unique and interesting ingredients and suppliers. I find it very inspiring and exciting!
HUDSON: What’s the most exciting dish on your menu at the moment? What dish would you say is a must try?
MARCUS WAREING: They all are that is why they are on the menu! We change our menus very regularly and thus our food is very dynamic and interesting to both our regulars and those guests visiting us for the first time. We are now coming into the winter months so we have great, earthy flavours being showcased.
MARCUS WAREING: The future is very exciting, British cuisine is evolving constantly and it’s great to see a lot of the heritage varieties of produce making a comeback. My food philosophy will not change therefore guests will always experience the value I place on great produce and flavours. My vision is to continue to create and continue to maximise the overall guest experience we offer.
HUDSON: How many knives do you have in your collection? Any Japanese? Any favourites?
MARCUS WAREING: Quite a few, I like the solid and reliable Victorinox but also a couple of Japanese varieties …
HUDSON: In your latest book “Nutmeg and Custard” there’s a whole chapter devoted to popcorn. Is there a story behind this?
MARCUS WAREING: It tastes great and it’s quirky! I wanted to give the readers an insight into an ingredient they probably only every used in a couple of ways, that is buttered or caramel coated.
HUDSON: You co-wrote the book Knife Skills with Charlie Trotter, Shaun Hill and Lyn Hall. How did that collaboration come about?
MARCUS WAREING: It stemmed from the Cooks Book which was the first book I ever wrote. It’s a small but great guide to a skill which is so important to any chef.
HUDSON: From your last few days in Sydney, what have you enjoyed eating?
MARCUS WAREING: I had an amazing lunch at Sepia, Martin’s food is so fresh, flavoursome and innovative and it was complemented perfectly by some great wines by his highly skilled sommelier. I have enjoyed the Asian influences which are very apparent here.
If you’re planning a trip to London and would like to taste Marcus’ contemporary British cuisine, make sure you book ahead.