Get to know Mark Carter, Buxted Park Hotel's Head Chef
I started as a chef when I was 15 years old and next year I will be 50. I have worked in this industry all my life, never stopping or changing career path. I have worked in a lot of big hotels in England and in Canada and have taken advice and ideas from chefs I have met from all over the world.
My greatest inspiration was to prove to myself that I could be as good or better than any of the chefs I worked under in an attempt to live up to my potential and make them and myself proud. I also still keep in contact with chefs I worked with 20 years ago.
There is no greater buzz than a good service when everything is cooking and great food is going out to the customer you're really in the zone. It's impossible to explain it, you have to be a chef to know and experience the feeling! It's not all plain sailing, I still get nervous before every event and every wedding, as I remember my own wedding and the high expectations I had. This keeps me focussed to helping create the best wedding ever for our customers, I always want the bride to have great memories of the hotel and food. I teach my restaurant chefs that every dish has your name on it and the hotel's name on it, so be proud of everything you serve. This mentality helped us earlier this year we achieve 100% in a mystery guest audit. My ambition in the restaurant is to be known for great food and great service and a relaxed family atmosphere.
My favourite local ingredient will always be cheese, local cheese is best - Golden cross goats cheese, lord of hundred ewes milk cheese, Brighton blue, Olde Sussex cheddar are all on our cheese menu. I love cheese.
In various hotels over my career, I have cooked for two Canadian presidents, the royal family and a lot of famous people but my greatest career achievement is still to come. I would love to be named the hotel of the year next year. The team, I work with deserve recognition rather than just me and an award like that recognises the great efforts of everyone involved.