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Marc Fosh, the teacher of stars

Marc Fosh, the teacher of stars

Marc Fosh © ffmag

Now almost sixty, Marc Fosh is having one of the best times of his life and has set himself two goals: to have fun and be happy. Famous for being one of the most creative chefs in Europe and a resident of Mallorca for over thirty years, British chef Marc Fosh runs both his eponymous restaurant in Palma (one Michelin star) and Sa Pleta in the hotel Pleta de Mar (Capdepera). His modern, simple way of cooking with fresh flavours and great subtlety, has been a training academy for some of the best new talent in contemporary Mallorcan cuisine.

 

What’s Marc Fosh like inside and outside the kitchen?
I’m much calmer than I was before. Less impulsive. I try to surround myself with good people, have good vibes, enjoy what we’re doing and be grateful. Because, sometimes, with all the stress and work, you don't stop to think about everything you’ve achieved. It’s wonderful to have a restaurant where people pay you to dine and leave happy. And a team that is too... Sometimes I chat to colleagues who’ve been really successful (with lots of stars), and they need to realise that: how beautiful the life they’re living is. For years, I got up every morning and didn’t think about anything other than cooking. But I was happy because I was doing what I loved the most: cooking. I feel lucky. I’m turning sixty this year and I can’t always be in the kitchen, but I have a great team, thank God. When I want to be there, I am, and when I don’t, I’m not.

What do you think about the food evolution taking place in Mallorca?
I think it’s really positive. In many ways, we’re in the best place that we’ve been in during the thirty years I’ve been in Mallorca. But we have to continue pushing forwards so that Mallorca becomes the foodie destination that we all want it to be. 

We’re in the best place we’ve been in the thirty years I’ve been in Mallorca

How has the food sector in Mallorca changed over the years?
I started out many years ago. Everything was very different then. There were very few gourmet restaurants. Haute cuisine didn’t exist on the island. It’s changed a lot. But, one of the things that’s changing radically is that now there’s a generation of young Mallorcan chefs who really believe in their philosophy and cooking style. And, slowly but surely, they’re developing a new Mallorcan cuisine. Cuisine that focuses on produce and is far fresher. So, I think we’re improving, and we can all take advantage of this push forwards.

Scorpion fish tartare, plankton, soller prawns, green tomato, rosehip. Restaurante Marc Fosh, Mallorca

Scorpion fish © March Fosh

Have you seen changes to fine dining too?
Yes and no. I’ve noticed that there’s far more interest in it and the customer profile is getting younger, which is great for us. People are more casual, customers want to relax and don’t need all the bells and whistles. They’re after a fun experience. Restaurants are pretty easy in many ways. If you can offer people three basic things (and do it well), you’ll be successful: you need good food, friendly service and a place where people feel comfortable. It’s easy, but restaurants often make mistakes with one of these three things. 

How do you feel now?
Good. Because when you’ve got a long career behind you and security, you’re relaxed about what you do, you have confidence. When you’re young you want to conquer the world and do lots of things. We’ve opened lots of restaurants, bars and different concepts, but now I’m in a really secure place with our two restaurants – Marc Fosh and Sa Pleta – as well as the catering and consultancy businesses. We’re firmly established and very relaxed.

Foie grass. Restaurante Marc Fosh, Mallorca

Foie grass © Marc Fosh

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career?
Over the years, I’ve learned that you need good people around you. A good team. When you open your first restaurant, you do it with lots of passion, you’re always there. But, as soon as you’ve got two restaurants, you can’t be in two places at the same time. And the two places have to work whether you’re there or not. That’s why you have to trust your team, try to make them feel at ease and let them work. I love discovering young people who are diamonds and who, over the years, leave and start their own businesses... 

I love discovering young people who are diamonds and who, over the years, leave and start their own businesses

Because lots of the people who are big chefs in Mallorca today, started out with you... 
Yes. Lots of them have passed through here. It’s normal because I've been here for years. Some have their own Michelin-starred restaurants now and I’m really proud of them. Lots work on simpler concepts, but you can notice a little bit of our brand in them all. And that’s really special to me. They’re all friends rather than former colleagues.

Marc Fosh Restaurant

Marc Fosh restaurant © Marc Fosh

 
What are your priorities now?
Be happy. My family, my friends... Have fun. I enjoy visiting restaurants around the world: eating well, drinking well... (Who doesn’t?!) But us chefs enjoy it in a really special way. Making new friends, new contacts... Today, there’s a lot of comradeship and closeness. That’s changed in Mallorca too. I think, generally speaking, chefs are far more united than they were in the past. I don’t feel as though I’m competing with anyone. 

Today, there’s a lot of comradeship and closeness. I think, generally speaking, chefs are far more united than they were in the past

How do you deal with the seasonal nature of Mallorca?
One of our restaurants is open all year round. But in winter, Mallorca is far more relaxed. And after several years, you figure out how to go with the flow. You can’t fight it. You know that, when November comes, your turnover is going to slow. You have to embrace it. Know that perhaps you have to struggle a bit more in winter and enjoy the peace and quiet. Go on holiday, think about the following year. But, of course, we’d love to have the restaurant full twelve months a year instead of eight. 

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