Early influences

Marcus Wareing   Kitchen (h)

Continuing our look at how the award winning chefs from Great British Chefs cook with their own children and their own favourite childhood food memories. Marcus Wareing uncovers his very early influences and how they reflect on some of the food he serves today.

Marcus Wareing has worked alongside many famous names in British gastronomy, starting with an apprenticeship under Anton Edelmann at The Savoy Hotel. He honed his skills at Le Gavroche and with Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire before achieving success with Gordon Ramsay Holdings, winning Michelin stars at L’Oranger, Pétrus and The Savoy Grill.

Today, Marcus and his wife Jane remain very much present in all aspects of their restaurants. We were keen to hear who or what had the biggest influence on Marcus’s earliest forays into the kitchen. 

“It was a TV show called ‘Take Six Cooks’ which was on TV when I was a child. My brother became a chef and I always looked up to him being older than me, we both boxed as well!”

Marcus’ father was a fruit & vegetable merchant, and we wondered if this helped him become a fan of any vegetables which children may not have normally liked.

“Parsnips” said Marcus. “We always had them and they are a flavour that kids don’t often like. We also ate all of the leftover fruit. My dad didn’t waste anything, he would just cut off the bruised part of a fruit and we would eat it.” 

A number of Marcus’ signature dishes at The Gilbert Scott reflect his early love of food:

“My most recent book, Nutmeg and Custard, had a lot of my childhood recipes like Manchester Tart. At The Berkeley we don’t really have anything from my past but at The Gilbert Scott which serves good English food, there are plenty of things: Eccles Cakes, Jaffa Cakes, pies and stuffing.

And of course I made egg custard tart for the Queen which was from my childhood, we still serve it at the restaurant. We now do miniature ones.”

Naturally we were delighted to see that Marcus’ own children have a great interest in cookery and food. “My children all love food. Having dad as a chef means they have an interest and I expect them to have respect for food. The eldest Jake, 11, is really keen on making things on his own, following a recipe and seeing the results. I am amazed at what he takes in about why things work and why certain techniques are used. Archie is 8 and is now really keen to try new flavours. He will always try.

I think Jess, 5, would prefer to snack all day as a meal interrupts her chatting! They all love to bake though!”

Finally, as we often get asked for tips on getting children to try different food types, we wondered whether any of Marcus’ children were fussy eaters.

“They don’t really get the chance to be fussy eaters.” He laughed, “At weekends we all eat the same and Jane and I don’t want to eat typical kids’ food so the children try all sorts of things. I expect them to try things, if they don’t like them, then fine, but they will try again! Jake used to dislike mushrooms, he has tried and tried and now eats them!”

For more of Marcus Wareing’s kids recipes visit Great British Chefs Cooking with Kids Collection.

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