100: Mark Edwards

01 July 2010 100: Mark Edwards

Overall ranking: 20

Chef ranking: 6

Mark Edwards - Snapshot

Mark Edwards is executive chef of the Michelin-starred Nobu London, the first restaurant to be opened outside the USA by the celebrated Japanese chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, and its younger sister Nobu Berkeley Street, which also holds a Michelin star. Edwards additionally has overall responsibility for Ubon by Nobu in London's Canary Wharf and has played a key role in setting up the kitchens and training staff at all new Nobus that have opened since 1997.

Mark Edwards - Career guide

Mark Edwards started his chef's career at age 13 when he took a part-time job in a small seafood restaurant near his home in Kent. He furthered his interest by studying catering at college and, after obtaining his diploma in 1980, he accepted a full-time position at London's Café Royal.

In 1982 Edwards moved to Europe, where he worked in renowned establishments such as Hôtel Le Richemond in Geneva and the George V hotel in Paris.

1987 saw a move to New York, where he worked in some of Manhattan's top restaurants, including the Rainbow Room and Aurora, and he completed stages at the Park Avenue Café, Lespinasse, Aureole and Tribeca Grill. New York is where Mark found his passion for Asian flavours, and in 1992 he moved to the Far East where he continued learning at the Orchard hotel, Singapore, and at the Peninsula hotel, Hong Kong, before returning to the UK as senior sous chef of Vong, the former Thai/French restaurant in London's Berkeley hotel.

Teaming up with Matsuhisa, Edwards trained in California before opening Nobu London as a concession in the Metropolitan hotel on London's Park Lane in February 1997. Ubon by Nobu opened in Canary Wharf in November 2000, followed by Nobu Berkeley Street in August 2005. Edwards has also co-authored a Nobu cookbook, Nobu West, which was published in 2006.

Mark Edwards - What we think

And yet, if you took a straw poll of leading restaurateurs on which British chef they most admired he would be sure to be near the top of the list.

Edwards mans the pass on a daily basis, and his interpretation of Matsuhisa's modern Japanese fusion cuisine secured Michelin stars for Nobu London in 1998 and Nobu Berkeley in 2006 along with three AA rosettes for Ubon by Nobu.

His cuisine is more than mere mimicry of his mentor's style. Nobus are adapted to local tastes, and their head chefs have considerable freedom to create their own tasting menus.

As Matsuhisa's culinary right-hand man, Edwards's influence stretches far beyond the UK capital. He has been responsible for overseeing the start-up and overall standards of all Nobus opened since 1997.

Nobu London was Matsuhisa's third restaurant in the current portfolio and followed the creation of an eponymous restaurant in Los Angeles in 1987 and the first Nobu, in New York, in 1994 in partnership with actor Robert de Niro and restaurateur Drew Nieporent. There are currently 21 restaurants in the Nobu empire.

Nobu London's reputation threatened to take a dent in 2009 when campaigner Charles Clover called on diners to boycott the restaurant over its continuing to serve endangered bluefin tuna. While the group's response - advising diners that the fish was endangered without actually removing it from the menu - was a bit of a fudge, the quality of Edwards's cooking means that Nobu will continue to see the punters, and celebrities, rolling in.

Mark Edwards - Further information

Edwards makes his mark with Nobu >>

The fifth element >>

Nobu Restaurants >>

Read more about the 100, the list of the most influential people, here >>

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