19 March 2018

Q & A with Mark Lawton

How long have you been cooking and what made you decide to be a chef?

I’ve been cooking for just a little over 15 years now and I decided to be a chef because I have always grown up around fresh produce, freshly cooked food. I come from a big family of cooks, musicians and artists in the family, so food is very important to us and how we all get together as a family


Can you talk us through your style of cooking?

My style of cooking has evolved quite a lot in recent years as with modern trends but I have always based a lot of the things I do with my classical French cooking background, so whatever I do even these days, I still use a lot of classical techniques on my dishes and still cook and teach my chefs the importance of classical cooking. I think some chefs these days get lost with the difference between ‘current trends’ but forget the importance of how food should taste and go for looks, and dots on plates. Don’t get me wrong, I do make my food to match the trends but it’s always important to me on how the food is cooked, flavoured and sourced


Which chef has influenced you most during your career?

I have to say it’s definitely Clare Smyth and Gordon Ramsay as they were my old boss’s and I enjoyed my time in the Gordon Ramsay Group even though I wasn’t there for as long as I might have wanted to. I learned so much as a chef and it taught me everything not just from the cooking side, but with the importance of ingredients to the highest standard, cleanliness and organisation skills. There are a lot of chefs that inspire me a lot too and I admire their skills as restaurateurs as well as chefs such as Jason Atherton, Tom Kerridge, Paul Ainsworth. Long term dream for me is to have my own starred restaurant


What are your favourite garnishes to use when plating up?

As cliché this will sound, I use a lot of Nurtured in Norfolk products as for me, they have the best quality micro herbs compared to other companies to have the finishing touch to certain dishes.


What is your favourite product to work with?

I love Octopus, Game fish and meats. I love seasonal products which are in season and best to use in their prime. I base my menu on seasonal ingredients so a lot of vegetables and garnishes changes through the months on whatever is in their prime


What does the future hold for you as a chef, what is your ambition?

I would love to earn a long-term goal I have had which is 4 years overdue and that’s a Michelin star. I think anyone that says they’re not after an accolade in the same age bracket as I am is a liar and I am being realistic. I’d love to eventually have my own restaurant one day and just cook my food without restrictions and have the all the chef toys you could possibly imagine to keep the consistency.