The day we cooked for Marcus Wareing…

There was life before British Regional Hampers. And one of those incarnations was running the leading catering company in the Algarve, with a business mix of weddings, parties and a private chef service in villas for holidaymakers who wanted a break from cooking. A lot of the bookings came via management companies or agents, and often (especially if they were well-known) it wasn’t until we met the client on arrival that we knew exactly who we were looking after.

No pressure then when we found out that one of those happy vacationers was none other than the Michelin-starred maestro and Masterchef presenter Marcus Wareing, in Portugal with his wife Jane and young family, and definitely not interested in a busman’s holiday by being chained to the kitchen.

We had an international brigade, so rather than sending in a British chef, who might have felt just a teensy bit intimidated, we deployed one of our top German chefs instead. He had no idea who Marcus was until several days into his stint - by which time it was too late for any nerves. And he forgave us (eventually).

Marcus proved to be the perfect gentleman, and the perfect client, and loved what we cooked for him over the course of the fortnight. A good job: we wouldn’t have wanted our chef being sent home after the first round…

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