Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Marcus Wareing, Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, the Gilbert Scott

06 December 2012
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Marcus Wareing, Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, the Gilbert Scott

Overall ranking: 47 (ranked 43 in 2011)
Chef ranking: 12 (ranked 11 in 2011)

Marcus Wareing - Snapshot

Marcus Wareing is chef-patron of the two-Michelin-starred London restaurant Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, and the Gilbert Scott at the St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel. Wareing previously operated the two-Michelin-starred Pétrus, the one-Michelin-starred Savoy Grill, and Banquette, an American-style diner at the Savoy, all with Gordon Ramsay Holdings.

Marcus Wareing - Career guide
Marcus Wareing, who was born in Southport in 1970, attended Stanley High School before attaining City & Guilds qualifications at Southport Catering College.

Wareing moved to London, aged 18, to work as a commis chef at the Savoy under chef de cuisine Anton Edelmann. Two years later he moved to the legendary Le Gavroche, where he worked for Albert Roux, and it was here that he first met Gordon Ramsay. Between 1991 and 1993 he honed his knowledge of classic French cuisine while working in various properties, including the Point, just outside New York; the Grand hotel in Amsterdam, with Albert Roux; and Gravetye Manor near East Grinstead in West Sussex.

In 1993 Ramsay asked Wareing to join him as sous chef in the launch of his new London venture, Aubergine, in Chelsea, which opened that same year. Wareing took a break from his role as sous chef at Aubergine in 1995, winning that year's Young Chef of the Year title and heading off to work alongside Daniel Boulud in New York and Guy Savoy in Paris. In 1996 he returned to the UK to become head chef of A-Z Restaurants' new London eatery, L'Oranger, a business in which he and Ramsay both held a stake; and a year later, in January 1997, he was awarded his first Michelin star.

Wareing's role in the Ramsay empire expanded in 2003 as he took over the Savoy Grill, which achieved its first-ever Michelin star in early 2004; moved Pétrus into the Berkeley hotel to replace Pierre Koffmann's two-Michelin-starred La Tante Claire; and opened Banquette - his version of a US diner - above the Savoy Grill. He converted the old Pétrus site into the more accessible La Fleur, but it was closed in early 2004 due to lease complications.

In 2007 Wareing published his first solo book, How to cook the perfect…. His second book, One Perfect Ingredient, followed a year later. He has contributed to a number of other books, including The Cook's Book - and Knife Skills but has been judicious in not committing to too many solo publishing projects.

In May 2008, following months of rumour, the Berkeley hotel confirmed that it intended to work directly with Wareing to launch its own restaurant, and he took on the lease in September 2008, retaining the site's two Michelin stars. In May 2011 he opened the Gilbert Scott, an English brasserie set in the Gothic majesty of the renovated grand hotel at St Pancras train station in London; while in 2012, though he has not financial stake in the restaurant, he oversaw the launch menu of Aalto, the up-market dining outlet in Birmingham's £24m Hotel La Tour.

Marcus Wareing - What we think

Marcus Wareing has always been regarded as one of Britain's leading chefs, winning the Catey Chef Award nearly a decade ago in 2003, but even so, perhaps he didn't get the credit he deserved while working under Gordon Ramsay. Indeed, he worked so closely with his mentor that he was nicknamed "shadow".

It was only a matter of time before Wareing let go of the apron strings, although it was possibly messier than he would have liked, despite admitting in 2009 that he wanted to "engineer a break" that would allow him to set up on his own. "I didn't want to be in another man's world any more. I was stubborn and I dug my heels in," he told the Sunday Times. "I picked a fight to engineer the break. I don't really think he did anything wrong; it was just me feeling how much I wanted to be on my own."Ramsay dug his heels in, launching an ultimately successful legal battle for the Pétrus name - and extensive wine cellar - but Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley was born in 2008, launching to critical acclaim and winning two Michelin stars in 2009. The restaurant has been tipped by some observers for a third Michelin star, with Wareing's meticulous attention to detail expected to impress the guide's inspectors, although the ultimate accolade has yet to arrive.
Wareing took his time choosing the right site for a second restaurant, eventually opting for a spot in the iconic, and fully renovated, Gothic hotel at St Pancras train station. The Gilbert Scott, named after the hotel's architect, opened in May 2011 to positive reviews and is quietly establishing itself under the radar.

Over the years, Wareing has built up a reputation as a perfectionist in his work and is uncompromising in his views on his chosen profession: he doesn't mince words or suffer fools gladly as chef Johnny Mountain found out when his cooking was judged by Wareing in the 2012 Great British Menu. And in May 2012 Wareing stirred up controversy when he went on record criticising the work ethics of young chefs, saying that they were no longer prepared to put in the hard graft to achieve success.

On the other hand, Wareing is happy to support industry campaigns such as Action Against Hunger and Galvin's Chance - he stepped into the boxing ring to raise money for the latter in September 2012 - and to lend his name to the Environmental Justice Campaign which promotes sustainable fishing.

It remains to be seen whether Wareing can join his former colleague Ramsay in that coveted three Michelin star club, or whether they will remain as elusive as they have for others such as Raymond Blanc.

Marcus Wareing's ranking in the 2011 Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 >>The Caterer Interview: Marcus Wareing >>

Guardian's John Lanchester finds Marcus Wareing's The Gilbert Scott 'ridiculously good' >>

Marcus Wareing talks about his new restaurant >>
Marcus Wareing admits engineering rift with Gordon Ramsay >>

Marcus Wareing to open restaurant in St Pancras Renaissance >>

Marcus Wareing website >>

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