100: Mark Hix

01 July 2010 100: Mark Hix

Overall ranking: 23

Chef ranking: 7

Mark Hix - Snapshot

Mark Hix is the former chef-director of Caprice Holdings who now runs three of his own restaurants: Hix Oyster and Chop House and Hix Soho in London and Hix Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis, Dorset.

Mark Hix - Career guide

After favouring domestic science over metalwork in his fifth year at school, Hix went on to pursue a career in catering, completing his City & Guilds qualification at Weymouth College.

After joining the staff canteen at Hilton as commis chef, Hix worked for two years at London's Grosvenor House hotel under Anton Edelmann and Vaughan Archer before moving on to the Dorchester under Anton Mosimann, where he was promoted after a few months from commis chef to chef de partie.

Two years later he joined small restaurant group Mr Pontacs as sous chef. Two months into the job and at the age of 22 he was promoted to head chef of the group's Candlewick Room restaurant in the City of London after the previous incumbent left.

Hix quickly won a Michelin Red M for the Candlewick Room, the only restaurant in the City to hold this award.

After four years Hix became head chef at Le Caprice, the venue that legendary restaurateurs Jeremy King and Chris Corbin had acquired in 1981.

When Caprice Holdings reopened the Ivy in Covent Garden in 1990, Hix became executive head chef for the group and oversaw all subsequent additions.

In December 2007 Hix left Caprice Holdings after 17 years to concentrate on his own projects. His first was working with Rocco Forte, taking the role of director of food at Brown's hotel in Mayfair.

In April 2008 Hix opened Hix Oyster and Chop House in the Farringdon area of London. He also opened Hix Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis, Dorset, and, most recently, Hix Soho in the West End of London.

In 2008 Hix took part in BBC TV's Great British Menu and, as one of the three finalists, took both his famous stargazy pie and perry jelly to Paris to cook for the British Ambassador's banquet.

Mark Hix - What we think

Hix, who has become celebrated for his modern approach to British food, played a key role the phenomenal success of Caprice Holdings, alongside restaurateurs-du-jour Chris King and Jeremy Corbin. But after 17 years with Caprice, owner of the Ivy and J Sheekey, Hix decided to quit and plough his own furrow.

The chef's first independent restaurant, Hix's Oyster and Chop House, was very much of the "does what it says on the tin" variety. Writing his regular column in the Independent

The restaurant hit the ground running - serving more than 200 covers a day within weeks - and was soon followed by the Hix Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis. Hix had been hoping to open a restaurant in the South-west for some time but a deal to buy the Riverside restaurant in Bridport, Dorset, collapsed in late 2007.

Hix had no plans for further expansion until the opportunity arose to take on the site of failed Japanese restaurant Aaya in London's West End. Hix Soho was born, featuring, in Hix's words "my own brand of British food".

The chef provided a revealing insight into the difficulties of opening a new restaurant when writing about Hix Soho in the Independent. "I'm very excited, because I have a great opening team for the new restaurant - somewhat different from the time, a couple of years back, when I opened my Chop House in Smithfield," he wrote. "Then I had a team that I hadn't worked with before and found it pretty tough trying to relay my philosophy to a bunch of strangers. Happily, most of them are still with me and we now have a really good, solid team at the Chop House."

Hix has written a number of cookbooks including Fish etc, British Seasonal Food and British Regional Food, reflecting his interest in traditional, local and sustainable produce.

Mark Hix - Further information

Mark Hix, chef-director of Caprice Holdings >>

Mark Hix creates culinary triumph at Hix Oyster & Chop House >>

Soho, so good: Mark Hix reveals some star attractions from the menu of his latest London restaurant >>

Departing Mark Hix wins plaudits from industry >>">" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Read more about the 100, the list of the most influential people, here >>

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