Words of Advice ~ Marc Wilkinson

This post’s participant in this series of  ‘5Questions‘ is based in the North West of England. He has worked in such revered establishments as The Arkle at The Chester Grosvenor, Winteringham Fields, Midsummer House & Pennyhill Park.

In April 2004 he made the leap of faith to open his own restaurant in Oxton, Merseyside called Fraiche. Since then he has accrued 3 AA rosettes & a Michelin star.

These are Marc Wilkinson’s ‘5Questions’.

1.   What would be your best piece of advice for a fresh face school leaver who is obsessed with ‘Food Porn’ looking to get into the industry?

I would say that as you enter the industry, nothing will prepare you better than laying a foundation of training in classical cuisine, don’t let your head be turned by fashion or the latest fad as you need a solid skill base to which to secure your future, and then this will allow you to venture into different styles of cooking later. Always find the best kitchen you can to begin your training as bad habits will be harder to shake as you progress and always keep an open mind. Lastly even though money may be a strong temptation in your job choice there will be time for earning good salaries and so will your potential to earn increase!

2.   What qualities are you looking for in your more junior chefs when recruiting new staff?

Passion and the drive have to be there, a willing to listen and to absorb while not being afraid to ask the very important question (why?). Common sense is also a great asset and somebody who has a good work ethic and willing to see things through and put time into the post, when I read cvs conveying 2 months here, 6 weeks and 4 months in a kitchen, it speaks loudly of the applicant’s lack of stamina and commitment.

3.   Would you recommend that staff do stages & how do people get to do a stage with you?

Stages can be very inspiring and a great learning experience, I myself have done a few stages here and abroad and I still undertake very short stages  to experience different aspects of this industry, though do not ever treat a stage as a recipe stealing exercise, have respect for the kitchen you have been allowed in as you are a guest and you should honour that, the flow of service, the methods of cookery, the style and management , even the quality of produce are great reasons for taking part in stages and as a junior chef it also gives you an insight into restaurants that you may yet be able to afford as a paying guest.

To stage at Fraiche we just appreciate emails with cvs and cover letters though we are small and limited to time restraints.

4.   In light of the recent death of a young chef through excessive hours (on average 100+ per week, for multiple weeks – See our post), does the industry need to change & what changes have you made to reflect this in your own kitchens?

Hours have always been an issue in the hospitality industry, from my own experience I have worked and continue to work long hours though I monitor employees are not over worked and ensure they receive 2 days off each week, one point I would like to make is that hard work is nothing to be shy off though you have to be careful of stress levels associated with the working day which can be damaging .

5.   Do you think that the media (in particular television) have raised the profile of the industry in a positive way?

Yes I have to say it has been mostly positive in raising the profile of our industry, though it doesn’t paint a true picture of restaurant life as that wouldn’t be entertaining to view and instead gives a rather glamorous image, but if it encourages interest in food and drawing new people into the trade then great, I wish we could have more serious cookery programs on TV with out the celebrity element taking over, the food and produce taking more centre stage perhaps projects  like fat man in France which you witness in one episode a terrine being prepared by a m.o.f chef and it just blew me away, sadly hells kitchen and such like never has that effect on me.

If you would like to read more about Mr Wilkinson, you can read his bio here:

As ever, many thanks to Marc Wilkinson for taking part in the ‘5Questions‘. If you would like to contact him for employment opportunities at his restaurant please use the details below.

11 Rose Mount
CH43 5SG


Website: Fraiche restaurant

3 Responses to “Words of Advice ~ Marc Wilkinson”
  1. chumbles says:

    Absolutely excellent stuff; and I especially agree with the response to question 5; don’t get me wrong, I love some of the TV ‘celeb’ stuff, but like Marc I found Fat man in a white hat, absolutely fascinating. At around the same time (March this year), there was also another eye-opening piece of ‘real’ cooking: the slightly subfusc titled Kings of Pastry, which showed why most chefs regard the pastry section and its inhabitants as aliens. Thank you Chefhermes!

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ross gray, Chef Hermes. Chef Hermes said: #FoodPorn for a Monday morning: Words of Advice ~ Marc Wilkinson: http://wp.me/pOZBV-qW #5Questions […]

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