How I Got Here: Marcos Fernandez Pardo

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Marcos Fernandez Pardo Iberica

Related tags: Spanish cuisine, Iberica, Casual dining

Marcos Fernandez Pardo launched Spanish restaurant Iberica in 2008. He now operates seven restaurants in London, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow and will soon help bring Quique Dacosta's InPaella to the capital.

Why restaurants?​ In my professional life I have always worked in industries with a strong cultural component. Initially art and for most of it before this, the music industry in Spain. In my personal life, I have had a relationship with the UK for over 25 years. I have been exposing Brits to the culture of my country since the start, and still do today. I saw a gap in the UK market on how our gastronomic culture, one of the leading of the world, was being represented, so it was a great fit.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
That it’s not easy.

What do you do in your spare time?
I value family time enormously and love to spend time with my kids, my wife and my friends. Cycling, reading and travelling are my other loves and, of course good food!

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
Sabor, St John, JKS Restaurants, Eneko at One Aldwich, StreetXO, Hawksmoor.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
Working in some other cultural industry, possibly in Spain.

What motivates you?
All of the people I work with and how we all progress together.

Where was your last holiday?
Only last week I came back from a fantastic holiday in Japan, which was the first holiday I’ve had for just me in 15 years. The people there were so friendly! Every Easter and Christmas me and my kids go to Spain for a week to be with the family.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
There have been many. Stephen Gee, Quique Dacosta and Nacho Manzano are true inspirations. My finance director Sarah Winter and my MD’s Joel Falconer and Aurelien Pottier plus the teams that I have had the privilege to work with.

What keeps you up at night?
Brexit is an obvious concern; especially given the trade and people partnerships that we have with Spain and Europe. I imagine the same things keep me up at night as many other business owners, regardless of the industry.

Worst business decision?
To have allowed myself to fall in love with hospitality!

Best business decision?
To have allowed myself to fall in love with hospitality!

What are you reading at the moment?
Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff and a book on the Galician gastronomic products on the French route of the pilgrimage to Santiago

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Believe. 

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
The fragmentation in the sector – we need to produce a unified voice to defend our interests in front of a government that only seems to want to damage one of the largest employment sectors in the country. The UK hospitality sector employs about 2.9m people and makes up 10% of UK employment, so it’s vital that it thrives.

CV

1972 Born in Lugo, Galicia 
Studied Economics at University of London, followed by an MA in International Business and Managemen
1992-1993 PR at Revista elEuropeo and Assistant at the Moriarty Gallery
1993 -1997 Head of PR and then Marketing Director at Mastertrax (Music Disctribution company)
1997-2003 Founder and Director at Octopuss Communications El Pulpo - Label management and promotion and marketing (Music Industry). First company of this type in Spain.
1999 - 2000 Business Manager at Ecuality Ecommerce S.A. - Ecommerce project launched by Acciona BBVA.
2008 - present Iberica (and more recently InPaella Ltd, Arros Restaurants)

 

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