Q&A with Mark Hix

Eve O'Sullivan
25 February, 2015

We ask our authors ten questions about their life-long love of food. This week, Mark Hix explains what he learned from his grandparents, his days at Weymouth college and why homegrown tomatoes changed the way he cooked.

What’s your first food memory?

My grandfather’s homegrown tomatoes from his greenhouse, sprinkled with Sarson’s malt vinegar.

What was the first dish you ever cooked by yourself? 

It was a classic Victoria sponge, with a little guidance from my grandmother.

What dish do you associate most with your childhood? 

Soused mackerel or stuffed lamb hearts, I’d say. If we’re talking comfort food though, it would be fish and chips. 

What single ingredient can you attribute to a turning point in the way you cook?

It goes back to my that first food memory. I’ve been inspired by my grandparent’s simplicity with food. I love simple, fresh tomatoes, so I’d have to say that.

Mackerel with broad beans

To whom do you owe your love of food, and why?

Laurie Mills, my lecturer at Weymouth college, where I first learned to cook.

What has been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in the kitchen?

Actually, it’s not something to do with cooking myself; managing large numbers of staff and consistency is the biggest battle. All of our dishes go through a rigorous testing process, so we never experiment on the customers.

Aside from well-known accolades, what do you regard as your biggest achievement?

Opening my own restaurants.

What recipe are you most proud of?

I’d say rabbit and crayfish stargazy pie; it became well known after I made it on The Great British Menu on BBC One in 2007.

If you could give one piece of advice to a keen home cook, what would it be?

Always choose to cook something simple and season. Then you know you are going to get the best taste from your ingredients.

If you didn’t work in food, what would you do, and why?

Cooking is creative, so probably something in that kind of industry, like art or design.


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