Q&A: Mark and Shauna Froydenlund

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From favourite kitchen gadgets to most memorable dining experiences, find out what we learnt from new Chef Patrons of Marcus, Mark and Shauna Froydenlund, when we caught up with them…

 

1) Who is your culinary hero?

M: Shauna will say me.

S: Er, no!

M: It has to be Marcus Wareing. He’s had the biggest impact on our career for obvious reasons.

S: He’s never taken a back seat in anything, he’s the driving force of the business which is really inspiring to us. I think Daniel Humm is also really great. How he moves around the kitchen and runs it so smoothly. His restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, New York, also recently won World’s Best Restaurant 2017. Clearly he’s doing something right.

M: I think it’s easy to get sidetracked by big chefs too. There are loads of chefs in the UK that have such pure philosophy about food, like Fergus Henderson. He was the first chef to introduce nose to tail eating 20 years ago. Barely any restaurants do it, but it’s incredible forward thinking and it has influenced how everyone cooks.

S: It’s not about finding the best produce all the time, it’s about making the best out of it, and using as much as you can.

 

2) When did you first realise you had a passion for food?

S: I worked front of house in a restaurant when I was 15, but it was only when I started to choose which degree to study at university, it came apparent then. I studied Hospitality and Business Management with Culinary Arts at Sheffield Hallam University, which got me interested in the restaurant side of hospitality. But it was only until I came to London to work for Marcus at Petrus, where I learned the food side of running a restaurant.

M: I worked for a local restaurant in my home town, Leigh-on-sea, Essex, when I was a teen. The feeling of delivering amazing experiences for people and good quality hospitality is what inspired me.

 

3) What are your 3 favourite ingredients?

M: Smoked paprika, onions…

S: I’d say onions as well. And from a pastry point of view, butter and eggs.

 

4) What is your favourite restaurant?

S: For consistency, Barrafina. There’s always a lovely, relaxed atmosphere and the food is fantastic. They encompass hospitality – everyone is so friendly and cares about they do. It’s a great company.

 

5) What is your most memorable dining experience?

S: We went to Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris, which was a 30th birthday present to Mark from Marcus [Wareing].

M: It’s a proper 3 Michelin-starred experience – amazing service, and just a classic, Parisian restaurant.

S: The food was lovely of course, but the service was on another level. It was truly special.

 

6) Any advice to chefs just starting out in their careers?

M: Try and enjoy learning to cook as much as possible. If you’re at college, take advantage of the opportunities and appreciate what they teach you.

S: It’s sometimes hard to take everything in, but stick with it. Don’t be disheartened when days aren’t always good. And it’s easy to work your way up if you remain passionate, focused and hard-working.

 

7) What’s your favourite kitchen gadget?

S: Well I couldn’t live without a freestanding mixer. I’ve got one at home. I quite like a blender too.

M: Scissors. So great, so handy. You never have them when you need them, and that’s when you realise how important they are.

S: Same as a spoon!

 

8) What 3 things would you take to a desert island?

M: Dry pulses.

S: Definitely a knife.

M: A spade. To bury Shauna with. And maybe some earplugs.

S: Don’t write that!

 

9) What would your last supper be?

S: It’s got to be spicy noodles.

M: Definitely a Shepherd’s pie.

 

10) How would you sum up your working relationship in 3 words?

M: Respectful.

S: That’s a good one. Supportive? There’s always one of us here at Marcus, so we know the restaurant is in good hands.

M: Inspirational.

S: No, don’t say that!

M: Fun!

S: Yes, definitely fun!!