Mark Best – Chef, Owner, Thought-leader
Mark Best started by discovering the stoves accidentally and ended up becoming an unquestionable symbol of the new Australian Cuisine. His perseverance and his ‘eternal dissatisfaction’ (as he calls it himself) are the vitamins for his spectacular personal development. “I live in a melting pot of new ideas and cultures,” says Mark Best. “We do not have the shackles of culinary history; we are free to be inventive, spirited, adaptive and progressive.”
“I aim to bring, the extraordinary produce of Australia, to a point of celebration & unnatural expression” These words accurately describe Best’s approach to cooking. Its food, focused on flavour, with technology at the service of the ingredient.
Mark Best started his working life as an electrician in the gold mines of Western Australia before starting his culinary career at the age of 25. He commenced an apprenticeship at the Macleay Street Bistro, Potts Point, in 1990. This was the beginning of his passion for French food. It was the heyday of modern Australian cuisine – the fusion of European techniques and ingredients with the flavours of the Asian region – and a flourishing time for Sydney’s food scene.
In 1995 Best won the annual award for Sydney’s best young chef, The Josephine Pignolet Award. In 1995, he opened his own restaurant, Peninsula Bistro, Balmain, which soon developed a strong local following and rave critical acclaim. During this time he decided to further his study of French Cuisine in France. In 1998 he worked at ‘L’Arpége’ in Paris, [under Pascal Barbot] Alain Passard’s three Michelin Star Gastro Temple. He followed this with a stint at Raymond Blanc’s, ‘Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons’ in Great Milton, UK. His time overseas fuelled his desire to start another restaurant. Marque opened in 1999. Mark Best has won Chef of the Year in the annual Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, Restaurant of the Year in Australian Gourmet Traveler, Sydney Morning Herald, Time Out magazine and in the Restaurant and Catering Association’s Awards for Excellence. Marque also featured for three years running in the San Pellegrino & Restaurant Magazine’s-Worlds 50 Best commencing with the 2010 “Break through award” & held 3 Hats in the SMH Good Food guide for 10 years running.
Mark is a published author with ‘Marque a Culinary Journey’ & ‘Best Kitchen Basics’ published by Hardie Grant in Australia & the UK & Rizzoli International Publications in the USA. He is also a proficient photographer and contributes photo/journo pieces to The Sydney Morning Herald, The Melbourne Age and Rauw Magazine.
He is an ambassador for AEG products Australia involved in product development & training as well as promotional activities relating to the brand. In 2016 Mark opened ‘Bistro’ by Mark Best on the Genting Dream, a luxury ship, part of the expanding Dream Cruise lines sailing out of Singapore. He now has restaurants on three ships for the line, sailing out of Singapore, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Mark travels extensively promoting his business interests, mostly in Asia, working with leading hotel groups such as Starwood, Four Seasons, Intercontinental, Park Hyatt amongst others. He also works with Australian industry bodies such as Meat & livestock corporation, Tourism Australia & Destination NSW promoting their interests Internationally at G’Day UK, London, G’Day USA Los Angeles & New York, BIOFACH, Nuremberg. He has attended as a guest speaker at leading international Chefs Congress ‘Cook it Raw’ Japan, ‘Madrid Fusion’ Spain, ’Terroir’ Ontario, Berlin, Warsaw, Beijing, & ‘Food on the Edge’ Galway Ireland.
His onscreen appearances include Martha Stewart, Masterchef Australia & ‘The Final Table’ for Netflix (release 20th November 2018)