From education to employment

Chef lecturer Mark proud to step up for Wales at the Culinary Olympics

Mark Robertson steps up to the Wales team for the IKA Culinary Olympics

Chef lecturer Mark Robertson has proudly stepped up from the Senior Culinary Team Wales squad to the front line team at the IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart next week.

Mark, 44, who works for Coleg Cambria and lives near Mold, is one of the six chefs who will be competing in the Restaurant of Nations, one of two elements of the competition. The second element, the chef’s edible buffet, is a newcomer to the competition and involves the full squad.

The team presents its chef’s edible buffet on February 16 and its Restaurant of Nations menu for 110 covers on February 18.

Mark made his debut as a Wales squad member at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg two years ago and gained valuable experience from supporting the team at the major event.

“Going to the Culinary World Cup two years ago and walking into the arena was like going to a chefs’ heaven,” said Mark. “It was very impressive to see the standard of food across the world.

“I am sure it will be a big eye opener and a massive learning experience to compete at the Culinary Olympics. We are all up for it and we are going out there to do the very best we can and to make Wales proud.

“When you get your Wales chef’s jacket, you think wow, I have been lucky enough to get in the team of six. I just can’t wait to get cracking now.”

Early in his career, Mark won the Student Chef of the Year award for the North West before working in the South of France and Southern Spain where he was promoted to head chef at the age of 19. 

He has worked in large hotels, restaurants, industrial catering, event catering and on a ship. By age of 25, he launched his first business, The Personal Chef Service and, the following year, opened a restaurant.

He has been a chef lecturer since 2008 and is an advanced artisan sourdough tutor,

WorldSkills co-ordinator and mentor, competition judge and food festival demonstrator promoting local Welsh produce.

As part of his continuing professional development, he has secured a week’s work placement at Easter with star chef Raymond Blanc at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton, Oxford.

When he’s not working, Mark loves watching chef programmes on television and cooking with his children, who are aged 12 and nine years, to create new dishes.

“I think it’s really important for youngsters to get involved with cooking food,” he added.

“Most chefs eat, sleep and breathe cooking. Going into the industry is a vocation. It involves long, hard hours in the kitchen and if you don’t love what you do, you are going to struggle.”

The Wales team is led by Nick Davies, culinary craft trainer with Cambrian Training, who combines the roles of team manager and member whilst Sergio Cinotti, from the award-winning Gem 42 Restaurants, Newport, takes over the captaincy for the first time.

Other squad members are Dylan Wyn Owens, Manchester City Football Club’s head chef at the Etihad Stadium, Will Richards from Cambrian Training, Matthew Smith, freelance chef from Newtown, Jay Humphris from Coleg y Cymoedd and Zak Pegg from The Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron. Logistics manager is Peter Fuchs, culinary director of The Celtic Collection and ICC Wales, Newport.

Culinary Team Wales is sponsored by the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales, Cambrian Training Company, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Castell Howell Foods, Hybu Cig Cymru and Harlech Foods.

Related Articles