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Marc Billings

Marc’s career started at aged 15 with an apprenticeship at a well-respected hotel in Warwickshire under the watchful eyes of Adam Bennett, who is now chef director of the Michelin starred 'The Cross' in Kenilworth. This apprenticeship ran alongside attending North Warwickshire College. After a two-year apprenticeship, Marc decided to work in the Cotswolds. Country house fine dining was still a popular scene back in the ‘90s and this apprenticeship foundation gave him a solid platform to work from and held him in good stead.

Marc worked at various hotels and restaurants before deciding to focus his attention on cooking as a restaurant chef. A reunion with Adam followed and the chance to work for the much-celebrated, Andreas Antona.

Over the last few years, Marc has worked at a variety of venues but is now based at a 17th century stately home called Prestwold Hall, working for Maverick venues. The ethos of the company is to produce high class food and service to clients in exclusive venues. They are a fantastic company to work for with great values and ethics. It has a real family feel and he loves the people he works with.

The thing Marc loves most about being a chef is the cooking and handling of great produce. He feels it’s also one of the few crafts where you get to see the whole process from start to finish. He commented: “Within our industry it’s always the people who make it what it is. I've worked with some real colourful characters.”

Looking back, Marc admits he didn’t always want to be a chef. As a young boy he would have loved to have been a striker for Coventry City FC. However, his school home economics teacher, Mrs Tomlinson, set him on a path from which he’s never looked back.

There have been many people that have inspired Marc at different stages throughout his career. From celebrated chefs like Anton Mossiman, who in Marc’s opinion was a chef ahead of his time and Marco Pierre White who he describes as pure rock and roll, through to employers, colleagues and family members, like his grandma. These days his inspiration is his wife and children.

Marc describes the most memorable day at work as his first day as a head chef, as he said it is what all chefs aim for. He commented: “I entered National Chef of the Year for various reasons. Not for gains or glory, though I would dearly love to take Kuba’s crown, but more of a mountain that I felt was worth climbing. Hearing my name called out as a finalist was bonkers. There was so much talent on display in that semi-final day in Sheffield that I wasn't sure of my chances. So, to hear those words was sweet music. Only the best get to know what winning NCOTY feels like and I am up against nine hugely talented craftsmen. I am going to have to use everything I've got and then some if I am to triumph.”

Marc believes that to be a successful chef it requires a holy devotion and an almost single- minded approach to master your craft. If he had to describe his style of cooking in three words it would be seasonal, considered and diverse. 

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