Sally Thomson managed to catch up with Mark Hix during his very busy schedule to find out how he became a chef and what is coming up next, which includes him heading up the Alresford Watercress Festival this June for first time…
Mark Hix was the food writer for The Independent on Saturday for 14 years. He now has a regular column in The Telegraph and a weekly cookery show on Lyme Bay Radio.
Most importantly he is a well-respected chef in the industry and is frequently praised as being one of Britain’s most eminent restaurateurs. His knowledge of ingredients is exceptional. Mark is also an award-winning author and food writer with 12 cookbooks to his name, the latest of which, Hooked, has delightful stories of fishing from being a boy through to the present day.
Please may I ask what got you into cooking?
Well, at school it was a choice between metalwork or domestic science. A group of us decided to opt for domestic science because it would be a class full of girls. But when we turned up on day one of class, all the girls had decided to do metalwork!
How did your cooking career develop after that?
I started working at a local pub to earn a little bit of money. When you come to the end of school, you have to make your mind up as to what you are going to do. My Dad’s friend suggested catering college. This was in Weymouth. So that’s what happened; I went to catering college for two years, and after that I went to London.
What made you eventually decide to go it alone?
To get experience really. After catering college, I just thought it was best to go to London.
Did you have any outrageous times or was it all just a lot of hard work?
A bit of both really.
You are currently doing Lyme Bay Radio – what does your show consist of?
Sometimes we’ll do a live recipe, I’ve been doing it for a couple of years, and I do enjoy it.
How long have you been involved with the Watercress Festival?
This will be my first year. I’m judging some competitions and doing a few demonstrations. I’m looking forward to it! I am particularly keen on watercress, not just because of the flavour but because it is just so good for you.
Mark’s restaurant is The Oyster & Fish House. It sits in a very attractive spot on the coast in Lyme Regis which is known as the Pearl of Dorset. The restaurant is the wonderful place to sit and enjoy locally sourced fish and seafood. When the weather is fine you can sit outside on the terrace and enjoy Mark’s delicious dishes in the light and airy dining room. The windows offer fabulous views across the sea.
The menu varies and is dependent on the catch from the local fishermen. You can check out the website to get a ‘taster’ of what will be on the menu when you dine.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, closed all day Monday. Last lunch bookings are at 2.15pm. Dinner served from 6pm.
During the afternoon drinks, snacks and oysters are available throughout the afternoon. Go along and enjoy the ambiance.
For further information call 01297 446910 or go to theoysterandfishhouse.co.uk
Well-behaved dogs are welcome.