Thursday, 22 September 2011

Bioghraphy of Mark

Mark was born in London in 1968.  Adoption took him to York and then Leeds and at age thirteen onto Norfolk.  His parents, Canon Roger George Robinson and Pauline, followed the path of dedicated Church of England Vicar and even more dedicated Vicar’s Wife which led them from one parish to another across our green and pleasant land.

Failing to gain any significantly good grades at comprehensive school other than in art,and nutrition and home management Mark’s initial goal of studying Veterinary Science for the next 10 years was stifled resulting in the careers officer sending him on his way into the simmering heights of catering can become a chef, fully qualified, in 3 years they say ?  
His first job was washing up in a pub and making 1980s carvery food, then, moving on, he gained good experience and a sound background in a Country House Hotel - Stower  Grange, Drayton, Norfolk, where the proprietors followed the literature and recipes of Robert Carrier very closely (he left as a sous chef).  During this time Mark also worked to broaden his knowledge by attending Norwich City Catering College once a week over 3 years gaining excelent grades in city and guilds qualifications.

In 1989 Mark moved to a Relais Chateaux Hotel – Hintlesham Hall, Suffolk, previously owned by Robert Carrier, then in the hands of Ruth & David Watson, here he spent a lot of time learning the pastry section  and gaining sound knowledge as a chef tournant.In 1991 he moved to a Relais Gourmand in south Australia -Delgany country house then  travelled the country before moving on to tour South East Asia and India eating every possible new food in his path.

Mark spent 2 weeks work experience with Franco Teruchio at the legendary Walnut Tree Inn in Wales before moving on to run an Italian Restaurant in Norwich Norfolk. In 1993 He moved  to London where he worked for Sir Terence Conran at his flagship restaurant – Le Pont De La Tour, for one year and then went on to Martin and Vanessa Lamb’s acclaimed Ransomes Dock Battersea for 16 months followed by The Blue Print Café, head chef  Jeremy Lee.  Mark then moved to the  Gastro Pub the Anglesea Arms.  Following this was a sudden change in which he moved into event  catering with the amazing Rhubarb Food Design,working with them for 2 years and leaving as head chef. Cooking for rock stars and royalty; here his restaurant food and experience was put to good use in large and small number catering at a high level, with venues from The Natural History Museum,the Victoria and Albert museum,corporate catering ,to a tent in a field.

In 1999 he joined the gastro pub, Havelock Tavern, a move in which he was able to enjoy good and simple seasonal cooking again, this was the beginning of an important relationship with his  partners, Peter Richnell, Jonny Haughton and Jonathan Cox. After 2 years at the Havelock, Mark took the helm at the Masons Arms gastro pub in Battersea and then on to The Pilot another newer gastro pub (run by the same group)in Chiswick where he gained runner up in the Evening Standard Pub of The Year Award.

In late 2002 mark teamed up as a chef director with the then owners of the havelock tavern,they took over a run down large edwardian boozer in south london and after several months renovation re opened the Earl Spencer in Southfields which in 2003 was runner up in the Time Out Gastro Pub of The Year competition and then winner of the Evening Standard Pub of the Year Award in 2004. During his six years at the helm the earl spencer found its place in all the major food and pub guides, gastro pub cookbooks and Alastair Sawday's special places of England and Wales

Mark then relocated to west sussex with his family,  working as a freelance chef and wild food forager, in 2009 the beginings of Sloe and Wild were started, private catering using local and wild food wherever possible and the ethos of the slow food movement.

At the beginning of February 20011 mark took on another head chef position with an old work colleague from the Havelock Tavern . The Horse Guards Inn , Tillington, West  Sussex is a beautiful pub set in the Sussex downs  adjacent to Petworth park. Whilst still continuing with a few private functions and foraging mainly for cooking within the pub , the wonderful  local artisan suppliers and game on the doorstep of this location is proving an ideal palate for the creative juices.
Since joining the team the Horseguards has gained a place in the Michelin pub guide, the good food guide, and a commendable write up from food critic Giles Coren of the Times.

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