Passion Points: Food/Wine
From Jane Stanbury of Mallorca’s Balearic Discovery
Marc Fosh is one of Europe’s most exciting and creative cookery talents and without doubt one of Britain’s most successful culinary exports. He began his culinary career at the age of seventeen working at London’s Greenhouse restaurant, before moving on to the Michelin-starred Chelsea Room at the Carlton Tower Hotel. He lived and worked in northern Spain for many years before being invited to open the kitchens of Reads Hotel, a Relais & Chateaux property in Mallorca. While there, Fosh became the first and only British chef ever to be awarded a Michelin star in Spain. These days, Marc Fosh is a regular on television and writes a variety of food columns for newspapers and magazines, both in the U.K and Spain. He also enjoys traveling the world discovering new flavors and providing cooking demonstrations. He has recently opened Simply Fosh (Carrer de la Missio 7A; 34-971-227-347; www.simplyfosh.com) in Palma to rave reviews, and it has rapidly become one of the city’s most popular restaurants.
You started your career in London. What then took you to Spain?
I’d visited northern Spain a few times and found the food scene there very inspiring. In Britain, we used a lot of cream and butter to cook with, but in northern Spain the basis for great food was olive oil and superb ingredients. I decided to move to San Sebastian in 1991, as there was something very special starting with the food scene in Spain. It was undergoing a massive resurgence and was becoming internationally known for its fabulous chefs, great ingredients and stylish restaurants. This was all very attractive to me and contributed to the development of my own style of cooking.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
My philosophy revolves around the idea that good quality natural ingredients, prepared in a simple and uncomplicated way, can produce some of the best flavors and tastes. I focus on using fresh, seasonal produce and combine them to create what I hope are new and exciting dishes. I’m inspired by a lot of local traditional ingredients such as the bacalau (salt cod), the olive oil and the excellent local produce. I then like to try and add a modern twist to the dish for example adding Mediterranean salt flakes and olive oil to chocolate truffle because it really brings out the best flavors of the chocolate. Other classic dishes with a modern touch on the menu include yellow gazpacho with avocado sorbet and marinated salmon or hake with quinoa, mussels, saffron and a tomato ragout. Generally, I’m aiming for clean tastes but with a depth of flavor; less is often more I find.
Why did you choose to leave Reads to open Simply Fosh?
I had been at Reads for nearly fourteen years and felt I had achieved as much as I could there. We’d achieved the Michelin star, we’d set up the first chef’s table on the island and had built a reputation for great food and creating unusual menus. It was time for me to return to the origins of my cooking and I wanted to work on a new project that allowed me to create and serve in my own way fantastic food that was accessible to more people. I think its important for people to know that quality food doesn’t have to be very expensive and only available in formal surroundings. I wanted to create a restaurant that offered great food, in stylish surroundings at reasonable prices, really giving the clients affordable glamour if you like.
Is Simply Fosh your only restaurant?
Actually there is also Fosh Food (Calle Blanquerna 6, Palma; 34-971-290-108; www.foshfood.com), which is based in Palma. This is more of a gastronomic center with a well-stocked gourmet shop offering ingredients from all around the world, all sorts of cookery utensils and a restaurant serving a menu del dia. The styling is similar to many Japanese restaurants with a counter where the clients sit and watch the chefs prepare the food. The idea was to make it all very interactive. So we also run themed cookery demonstrations where visitors discover how to use fresh ingredients to create restaurant level dishes. We’re trying to demystify cooking, as I think sharing ones knowledge and experience is very important if we are going to raise cooking and eating standards. Accessibility is important, and the Fosh Food venue offers the opportunity to build on and learn new cookery skills. The evening demonstrations are very popular. We have everyone from novices through to super yacht chefs attending them, and everybody gets really involved. That’s what food should be about.
What other ventures is Fosh involved with?
Well we have Fosh Catering, which is a service that provides outside catering for private villa dinner parties, special occasions, weddings or for whatever the client wants really. We’re very flexible. We take our team and prepare the food at the venue, which may be in Mallorca or even further afield. We’ve even done a couple of events on Ibiza and Menorca this year. Clients enjoy having the Fosh brand come to them for their special occasions, and we think its because they know they get a consistent quality of service. There’s also Fosh Provisioning, which ensures we get the best produce onto the yachts that travel in and out of Palma harbour. Its much easier for the on-board chefs to know they have a reliable source of good quality ingredients as food is such a key part of the yacht and boat industry. When you’re out at sea, you can’t just pop to the nearest restaurant, so we make sure the chefs have the same quality produce as the top city restaurants to work with. Recently the Fosh product range was launched. We extensively investigated suppliers of rice, oil, vinegar and pastas and have now put together a range of good quality products for clients to use at home.
Do you have any free time and what do you do with it?
To be honest, I don’t have much free time, but when I do I enjoy traveling and discovering new tastes. I consult for some international restaurants and have spent quite a bit of time in Russia recently working with one of the top restaurants. Guest chef appearances are always fun, and I’m always on the look out for new gastro opportunities.
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