After working for Caprice Holdings for 17 years, Mark Hix left his job as chef director in 2008. He now operates four Hix restaurants in London and Dorset, and is director of food at Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair.
I did a City & Guilds 7061 course in Weymouth, and for the most part it did prepare me for the industry.
My first job was at the London Hilton staff canteen. It was the only thing I could get at the time. It wasn’t very motivating.
Cooking with British produce wasn’t a big deal for me when I was younger. I was taught to use imported stuff from France.
There were lots of different food styles that came and went in my early career. They have little impact on what I do now.
I’ve developed my own style, and a lot of the British produce element stems from my food writing. The research drives the cooking at my restaurants.
There’s a place for all sorts of cooking styles. I’m not a fine-dining chef at all but I go to fine-dining places occasionally. It’s
important to try a bit of everything.
The problem with colleges is that the quality and usefulness of the experience is dependent on the lecturer. If the lecturer is poor, you won’t get good students.
Chris Corbin and Jeremy King are a big influence. They focus on the customer, which sadly a lot of restaurants don’t do.
I did 18 years at Caprice holdings. It was time for a change.
The Oyster and Chop House was about doing something different in London – a focus on oysters and meat on the bone.
Fergus was the first to go Smithfield way, then Pascal Aussignac, and various others. A great area to run a restaurant in now.
After working for someone for 18 years it’s good to be my own man.
My business partner Ratnesh Bagdai was finance director at Caprice Holdings. A lot of people enter into a partnership and nobody knows about the financial side of things.
I have opened four restaurants in a small time-frame. I wouldn’t set myself a limit but I’ve got no immediate plans for any more.
I eat out a lot in London. I go to St John quite a bit, and I like the little Vietnamese restaurants in the East End.
I’d describe my approach to cooking as straightforward. I like to focus on the main ingredient, use good produce and not mess
around with it too much.
Cooking the style of food we do, I like going to Asian restaurants for some different flavours. I have cravings for Chinese – it gets
the taste buds going.
I look to do books that are reference books as well as cookbooks.
God knows what I would have done if I hadn’t been a chef. As I left school I had no idea what I wanted. It was domestic science or metalwork. I did cooking for a laugh.
I fish to relax. I have a boat in the harbour in Lyme Regis. There’s nothing better than being on the water and relaxing.