Name: Mark Marshall
History: I started and completed my apprenticeship with early release at Hilton on the Park in Melbourne. After qualifying, I spent a short time working in the Yarra Valley at De Bortoli, then left Victoria to work on Hayman Island in the Whitsundays for a few years. I loved Queensland so much I moved up to Port Douglas and worked at Silky Oaks Lodge in the Daintree for two years. After that I had the urge to do the European Michelin star thing and ended up in London. I worked with Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing for quite some time and after that at The Ledbury in Notting Hill.
I finished my time in London at Scotts Restaurant in Mayfair, then came home to my first executive chef job at Longitude 131 out at Ayers Rock. After two years there I had the urge to travel again and ended up as executive chef of Pacific Resort Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. I then came back to the south coast of NSW with my wife and children to open up our own restaurant, Shimmer Restaurant & Barm and settle down.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
No - I worked as a casual kitchenhand in a brassiere in Melbourne as I was going through high school with no idea which direction to go in. After a few months they put me in the kitchen at the age of 15 and that’s where my passion and love of cookery and hospitality began, and I have never looked back.
How would you define your style?
I like to look at it as fresh and modern, using nothing but the best produce without being too complicated but still a little complex and different. Bringing old favourites back, but making it more relevant to today’s tastes and ideas of what food should be.
I believe nothing is to be bought in; everything in our restaurant from the ice-creams to the sourdough to pastas is all made on site, fresh daily.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Well going in to winter it would be the new season winter vegetables/root vegetables, game meats as well as lots of shellfish.
Obsessive compulsive about?
Moving forward all the time with the restaurant and the food. If you stick to one thing and not change, you will become old hat!
Seasoning of all food must be spot on to really emphasise the produce and product at its best.
Cleanliness and appearance of the restaurant and food at all times.
Everything must be made fresh from my kitchen, daily! Nothing is bought in.
Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences:
Marco Pierre White, Thomas Keller, Peter Gilmore and Shannon Bennett.
What do you love about this business?
It never stops. There is never a dull moment. Also, working with food and creating something from scratch with your own hands and preparing it 'til the final product hits the plate - there is a great satisfaction about that. Your imagination can go wild without boundaries and the people you meet in hospitality trade are truly special.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Butter - it has such wonderful properties and is such a versatile product.
Most "eyebrow raising” menu item?
Whole Queensland mud crabs; goat; and pumpkin pie crème brulee with ginger ice-cream and nutmeg brandy snap.
We don't have any signature dishes that stay on the menu as we try to re-invent constantly. We are constantly moving forward by changing the menu every 8-10 weeks. To create the finest food, stay relevant to seasonal produce and to make something different every time for our guests that dine with us, that is our signature dish!