Marcus, from Broad Oak, near Rye, won a place in the international finals of the prestigious S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Competition, impressing judges in the UK finals with his signature dish of celeriac, apple and mushroom.
Competing in the global final means that Marcus is recognised as one of 15 of the world’s most promising chefs under 30.
Marcus studied at East Sussex College, finishing in 2015. He says, “I studied at Hastings campus starting with Level 2 Catering. I then went on to do Level 3 Kitchen Larder and Level 3 Patisserie.
He said: “After college I wasn’t really sure what to do, I knew for sure I wanted to do a ski season cooking over in France. It wasn’t until I came back that I realised you could really go far in the industry. I took a ‘chef de partie’ job at the Mermaid Inn, Rye, where I worked for a couple of years.
"I then wanted a bit more so I looked around at three Rosette restaurants and ended up moving up to Tunbridge Wells to a restaurant called Thackeray’s. I found myself in the pastry section. From there I just wanted more.”
Marcus then moved to a small holding in Kilndown, Kent, where he developed a passion for foraging and produce-led cooking, and honed his creativity. He later opened the award winning Curlew in Bodiam, East Sussex. with Will Devlin and Matt Broadbent, before working with Rob Taylor at The Compasses Inn, Crundale.
Commenting on how he came to enter the S.Pellegrino competition, Marcus said: ““One day I was just scrolling on Instagram and saw a post from Norttingham chef Sat Bains. He was saying how there’s this competition if you want to get ahead. I wanted to. My girlfriend pushed me to apply.
“We had to cook a signature dish that had to represent your beliefs and you as a cook. I submitted a dish of celeriac apple and mushroom. When I entered I didn’t expect to win, but fortunately did. Having such an esteemed judging panel of two-star and one-star chefs enjoy my food was an amazing feeling. Now I’ve got to do it again and go to Milan to cook globally for England, but I look forward to it.”
The two-day event in Milan takes place on October 4 and 5 and is built around the concept of “bring your future to the table”. It will bring together some of the most influential voices in gastronomy to engage in a conversation on how to create positive change in society through food. In the build up to the finals, Marcus has been mentored by Michelin-starred chef, Lisa Goodwin-Allen.
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