The Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Marcus Wareing considered quitting the kitchen for a role in farming, such were his concerns during lockdown for the future of his business.
‘Over the last six months I’ve thought about a different career,’ he admits in the latest episode of the podcast Biting Talk, in which he talks candidly of his fears for the restaurant industry.
‘During lockdown I watched as my bank account went down and down, and I’ve had to ask myself how much energy do I want to put into [my business], should I look at new things or take an early retirement?’
Wareing, who owns two London restaurants, Marcus at The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge and The Gilbert Scott at St Pancras, says he experienced ‘some dark days,’ adding that ‘life is full of lots of challenges. I’ve had some great highs and some really weird lows and some tough times. As a chef I feel lost without my kitchen.’
His ‘burning desire’ was ‘to get back in my chef’s jacket. I’m tired of the doom and gloom. We’ve come together as an industry, we’ve got choppy roads ahead but we have to manage that and welcome our guests with smiles and a glass of champagne.’
Wareing re-opened his restaurant Marcus this week after a closure of six months but has warned that ‘the gamechanger will be another lockdown. It would be catastrophic for the industry [and] restaurants would close like dominoes.’
Listen to the full interview with Marcus Wareing on the latest edition of Biting Talk presented by William Sitwell by clicking on the audio player above. This week’s guests include the UK Hospitality spokesperson and government lobbyist Kate Nicholls who reveals ‘the iron fist’ in her velvet glove, East London baker Francesca Strange of The Proof, up-and-coming chef Olivia Burt, and Biting Talk’s mixologist Farhad Heydari.