TV chef to bring global flavour to Marcus’
If you're a foodie, you might recognise Herb Wilson. The former Top Chef: Masters contestant has worked at high-end restaurants in Las Vegas, New York City and Miami.
He's also one of only a handful of chefs to get three two-star reviews from the New York Times — by three reviewers, for his work at three different restaurants.
Funny then, that his friends pictured him hanging out on a beach when he said he was moving to Bermuda. The executive chef at Marcus' has been here for two weeks — it hasn't happened yet.
What brought you to Bermuda?
Marcus' owner Marcus Samuelsson has been my friend for 20 years. I wanted to support his brand. I have been to Bermuda four times before and I really enjoyed it. I really didn't like Miami.
As a chef, I have travelled half the world. My passport has a lot of stamps in it. Now I am in Bermuda.
How did you get into cooking?
I just fell into it through mutual friends, and some mentors. I cooked as a child.
My parents worked and I had to survive on meals like hot dogs and beans. My mother was a schoolteacher and my father worked for the government.
At home the food was basic, American standard meat and potatoes. I moved to France when I was 22 and lived there for a year.
That must have been a bit of a culture shock.
It was, especially since I didn't speak the language, but I was a kid with a backpack and a Europass.
What are your impressions of living in Bermuda?
It is beautiful, although I have not seen much of it because I am here at Marcus' every day.
I am staying at the hotel at the moment because I don't have a permanent residence yet.
I want something within walking distance because I am not going to do the scooter thing. The last thing you want to do after working a 14-hour day is get on a scooter and drive home in the dark, in a place you are unfamiliar with.
What kind of things will you bring to Marcus'?
Marcus and I will discuss the menu items and try to keep it global, taking some cues from Red Rooster in New York.
What will you be changing?
We have a multitude of dishes that we'll be working on, but nothing is set in stone.
Right now it is getting the staff shipshape and really understanding how things work in Bermuda, in the hotel and in terms of labour.
Will you be improving the service at all?
I won't be involved in the service. I am a back-of-the-house guy. We have a great general manager that does a wonderful job with the service.
Anything you could improve on?
I see lots, but that is between me and Marcus'.
What do you think makes the Marcus' restaurant so special?
It is Marcus's brand. Marcus is international. I can't walk down the street with him in Miami or New York without people stopping us and saying, 'Hey Marcus!'.
He is a national brand and is dynamic and is all over television and magazines. That is why I am happy to be here and support his brand.
I know we are doing other projects down the road outside of Bermuda. If I am lucky enough I'll be a part of those projects.
Do you have a kind of cuisine that you are really passionate about?
I like cooking food that is fresh from the market. That is the good thing about Marcus', we are using a lot of local ingredients.
The fish literally pulls up to the back dock. We take tuna and wahoo right off the boat. I could show you a picture of two 60lb tuna we just got yesterday.
We have a local farmer, Tom Wadson, who gives us a lot of local vegetables, and we have a local goat cheese supplier.
Did you get so close to your fish provider in Miami?
I did not, so that is definitely a plus. To see the fish come in you know how fresh it is and you know how long it is going to last. We have great products here.
Where do you call home?
I call Bermuda home. I sold everything I owned and my car is in storage, my car that I miss so much. I had a Porsche.
Have you noticed any cultural differences since you have been here?
Not really, I love the charming Bermudian accent. My question is in two years, will I leave here with a Bermudian accent?