Mark Best of Marque

The staff at Marque Photo © Mark Best

I was incredibly fortunate a few months back to meet Mark Best at Qualia’s Weekends of Wonderment event. Mark was the guest chef for the weekend and he orchestrated the most amazing 5 course meal on the second night of our stay using all the local mud crabs we caught on the day’s excursion, in addition to Mark and his team recreating some of his signature dishes from his prolific Sydney restaurant; Marque.

Mark started by discovering the stoves accidentally and ended up becoming an unquestionable symbol of the new Australian Cuisine. His perseverance and his ‘eternal dissatisfaction’ (as he calls it himself) are the vitamins for his spectacular personal development.

Mark Best started his working life as an electrician in the gold mines of Western Australia before starting his culinary career at the age of 25. He commenced an apprenticeship at the Macleay Street Bistro, Potts Point, in 1990. This was the beginning of his passion for French food. In the fourth year of his apprenticeship he was awarded the Josephine Pignolet Award for ‘Best Up and Coming Chef’ in NSW.

In 1995 he opened his own restaurant, Peninsula Bistro, Balmain, which soon developed a strong local following and rave critical acclaim. During this time he decided to further his study of French Cuisine in France. In 1998 he worked at ‘L’Arpége’ in Paris, Alain Passard’s three Michelin Star ‘Gastro Temple’. He followed this with a stint at Raymond Blanc’s, ‘Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons’ in Great Milton, UK. His time overseas fuelled his desire to open Marque. Mark is a super cool bloke, very witty and totally packed full of charm, so I was chuffed when he asked if I’d like to come into his restaurant; Marque, in Surry Hills to savour a long, lazy lunch and sample his desgustation menu.

So, ergo, the following Friday I graciously brought my good mate Andy from The Gourmet Grocer along with me ~ as he is utterly mad about all things food and it was perfectly fitting timing-wise as it was Andy's birthday weekend, so a great opportunity to invite him along.

We had a totally amazing afternoon. Mark ~ as ever, was incredibly welcoming, and after a glass or two of superb French champers, Andy and I experienced ~ and thoroughly enjoyed, a superb meal. Without a doubt, one of the best I have ever experienced in Sydney. As the 12 dishes were served, Mark popped over from time to time and chatted to us explaining the each dish in regards to the origin of the produce and the inspiration behind each of the 12 dishes. *see below.

Recently in the Elite 100 world restaurant ranking ~ which is sponsored by champagne Laurent-Perrier, Marque topped the Australian contingent coming in at 35. As noted on the Elite site:

“Minimalist in its décor, Marque Restaurant is all about the food. Electrician turned gourmet chef Mark Best approaches his cooking with original flair, providing a menu brimming with creativity. Unafraid to take risks in the kitchen, Best takes his relentless search for new combinations to the extreme, with the result that his menu is constantly evolving”.

Marque offers a 3 course Friday market lunch which has been an enormous success since its inception.As an idea to provide value to its customers it offers a wonderful vehicle to hot house ideas from the team. Some ideas make it to the menu, some don’t. The important thing is the process of creativity & collaboration.

Mark has kindly offered a signed copy of his stunning Marque cookbooks to one lucky WKA reader. If the winner is Sydney-based (or elsewhere in Aus and you are happy to pop into Mark’s restaurant in Surry Hills), he will personally say hello and sign the book for you. To be in the draw to win, please share this post on your social media sites ~ Facebook. Instagram, Twitter etc. and leave a comment below telling myself ~ and Mark, as he'll be reading these posts and personally picking the winner ~ what your most favourite degustation dish is/was to date ~ be it in Aus or around the world, and why you enjoyed it so much? Good luck!.

Other links worth checking out:

Sea Biscuit

Fraser Island Spanner Crab with Almond Gazpacho, Almond Jelly, Sweet Corn and Avruga

Smoked Eel with Parmesan Gnocchi and Pumpkin

N.Z Bass Groper with Green Tomato, Verjus, Potato Paper, Fish Milk and Roe

Yamba Prawn and Cucumber

S.A. Kangaroo with Beetroot and Radicchio

Redgate Farm Quail with Carrot Heart and Miso

Holy Goat 'La Luna' with Pineapple and Onion

Hibiscus with Malted Chocolate Mousse

Sorrel Ice Cream with Mandarin and Honeycomb

Sauternes Custard

Pastry chef, Lauren

Mark's Honeycomb ~ as featured in the Sorrel Ice Cream dessert

Mark's Honeycomb Recipe as kindly supplied by Mark

165g castor sugar 60g liquid glucose 25g honey 1½ tablespoons water 7g bicarb soda

1. Grease a small cake tin with vegetable oil (canola spray is ideal for this), line with baking paper and grease again.

2. Add sugar, glucose, honey and water to a heavy-based pan and heat to 155°C.

3. Quickly sieve in the bicarb soda, stir and pour into the mould.

4. Set aside to cool.


Friday Lunch $49

Marque’s 3 course Friday market lunch has been an enormous success. As an idea to provide value to its customers it has proved a wonderful vehicle to hot house ideas from the team. Some ideas make it to our menu, some don’t. The important thing is the process of creativity & collaboration.

This week

New Season’s Young Garlic with Egg Jam, Hazelnut & Bottarga Tasmanian King Salmon with Radicchio, Apple & Onion Parsnip, Banana & Coffee


About the book: The story of Marque’s philosophy, food and people.

Marque is a highly illustrated, contemporary recipe book, celebrating and reflecting on Marque, the successful Sydney restaurant. Also included is the personal journey of chef and owner Mark Best and a collection of Marque’s signature recipes. This includes complete dishes as well as a myriad of smaller recipes and techniques which are the back­bone of the cuisine at Marque.

Forwarded by René Redzepi (of Noma) this is a stunning book to treasure as both a compilation of beautiful recipes and a record of one of the world’s best restaurants.

Price: AUD$79.95. Buy Here.