Since we are nearing the 1 year anniversary of The Farrars being reopened we have decided to spice things up! We are so pleased to welcome into the Muse Bar Group family our new Farrars head chef, Mark Pemberton. To get to know Mark a little better we had a sit down with him to find out what makes him tick.
“My ethos is just good quality food, keeping it family friendly and using local produce where you can. Things have to be homemade because customers do know when they are and when they’re not. What we want to do with the Farrars is strip is back and put in all the classic food. We are bringing in a prawn cocktail idea, with citrus tiger prawns and guacamole with a bit of marie rose and smoked salmon on there, so it’s kind of like a prawn cocktail but in a different way, so people can still identify with it. We want to simplify everything, get people coming through the door and knowing we do good quality food. We are going to build it slowly and make sure it’s done right.”
When were you first introduced to cooking?
I started when I was 14, where The Annex is now there was a restaurant called “French fields”, which was a French restaurant, and I was a pot wash there. I then moved to the Moorcock Inn, Littleborough, then on to Scotland where I spent a year there, then on to the lake district where I spent four years there and ended up living next door to Beatrix Potter’s house! I then came back down here, because it’s lonely up there, you don’t see anyone. So then I was at The White Hart for five years, then spent three years running a small restaurant in Uppermill, then eventually fell into The Old Bell where I spent 8 years and won quite a few awards for the food, and ended up leaving just for the kids. So I tried the hours out at The Albion Farm, but it just wasn’t for me. It’s time to be more settled and spend time with my kids and thankfully I can do that at The Farrars.
How would you best describe your culinary style?
I always try and take the best of Lancashire and the best of Yorkshire, and fight them against each other a little bit, so that it’s British but with a local, modern twist. It’s got be identifiable by customers.
So it’s definitely important incorporating your roots into your culinary style?
What chef do you admire the most?
I think it’s definitely got to be Marco Pierre White when I was younger I would buy all his books and all my recipes are based on them, you build on his recipes and evolve them into your own style, and you put a little twist on a recipe he used as a basic cook. But I would say now, as I’m back in Lancashire, it’s a chef called Nigel Haworth, who runs Northcote Manor.
He has a range of restaurants and pubs that are that kind of style; rustic, modern, tasty British food.
Where is your favourite place to eat in Manchester city centre?
In Manchester when you think of the best you think of The French, that was probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Where I aspire to eat one day is the French Laundry in New York. I had friends who have been and worked there and have come back just in awe of it.
What is your favourite dish to cook?
Definitely got to be a dessert for me, I spent 15 years as a pastry chef, so a majority of my career has been spent in pastry and larder, creating more of the pastry side – so it’s got to be a Manchester Tart, and evolving it through my career. It started off as a basic shortbread, jam with a nutmeg custard and sliced bananas glazed on the top, which evolved to have also a coconut mousse, then a cinnamon twirl, and then a rum and raisin sauce. I think its great you can evolve a dish by using different techniques with it.
Just some quick-fire questions for you now – tea or coffee?
Pub or bar?
Beer is definitely Leffe. It’s a white cloudy beer. Delicious.
What would be your perfect day off?
Definitely involve going out somewhere, eating and drinking cocktails!
We are super excited to have Mark on board with us! We can’t wait to see what he brings to Farrars so we can keep providing the best quality, tastiest pub grub in all the land. Keep your eyes peeled for our new spring/summer menu launching soon and be sure to come in and try it! Summer 2018 is going to be the best one yet.