At a young age Mark Sargeant discovered that cooking, and cooking well, was something that came naturally, that excited him, gave him a sense of ambition and a future. Growing up in the heart of the Kent countryside meant that there was always different fresh fruit and vegetables available at the beginning of each new season and local meat and fish from around the Kent coast for Mark to experiment in the kitchen with.
Mark's first job after graduating from college was at Boodles Gentleman's Club in St James' London, working with Keith Podmore. This was a great introduction to traditional British food and an ideal training ground for the young chef. Leaving the heights of the city, Mark returned to Kent to work at Reads Restaurant in Faversham under the instruction of David Pitchford; during his 3 years as Sous Chef at the restaurant, Reads gained its first Michelin Star.
Back to London and a new position at Le Souffle Restaurant at the Hyde Park Hotel where Mark worked with the late Peter Kromberg. He worked at the establishment for 18 months and whilst there, worked at Chez Nico on Park Lane on his one day off each week.
It was at his next position working with Steven Terry at Oliver Peyton's Coast Restaurant that Mark Sargeant won Young Chef of the Year in 1996. It was also here that he met Gordon Ramsay and then started to work with the ambitious chef in February 1997 at Aubergine. Along with the rest of the Aubergine team, Mark went on to open Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as Sous Chef and stayed there for 4 years, during which time the restaurant won its 3 Michelin Stars.
In the late 1990's Mark's talent and dedication to the job was rewarded with the appointment of Head Chef at the new Gordon Ramsay at Claridges in 2001. Here, Mark not only gained a Michelin Star a year later, but was also awarded the title of Chef of the Year.
Mark "Sarge" Sargeant was Head Chef for 7 years during which he also instigated the opening of Ramsay's three new pubs, The Narrow, The Warrington and The Devonshire, and was also instrumental in the opening of Foxtrot Oscar.
Throughout his 13 years with Gordon Ramsay, Mark was responsible for all of his media activities and co-authored his 12 books, wrote regular columns for the Times Magazine, Olive and BBC Good Food magazines, as well as assisting with the production of his television work both in the UK and abroad.
In June 2011 Mark opened two restaurants in the coastal town of Folkestone in Kent. "Rocksalt" is the harbour-front restaurant and bar, while "The Smokehouse" is the fish and chip restaurant and takeaway, there are also four bijou "Rocksalt Rooms", fully equipped bedrooms. Mark is also food director to restaurant group Canteen. Later on, Mark's first cookbook "My Kind of Cooking" was published in October 2011 by Quercus.
During 2012, the ITV Saturday morning cookery show "Saturday Cookbook" was launched in April, hosted by Mark and Nadia Sawalha, featuring live cooking demonstrations for family meals. Mark was also approached in 2012 by the Royal Ascot to create five bespoke dishes exclusively for the event.
Stepping aside from the kitchen, 2013 saw Mark become Chef Director of "Plum and Spilt Milk", located within the Great Northern Hotel.
Sargeant then also became Chef Director of The Strand Dining Rooms in 2015, where Mark revamped the entire restaurant and focused on modernising classic British dishes with a brand new ingredient-led menu. Mark's influence on the restaurant see's ever-changing weekly set menus produced which takes inspiration from the history of the dining rooms.
In May, Mark's third establishment "The Duke William" was launched; a cosy countryside pub in Ickham, Kent, serving locally produced food for families to enjoy in style. Shortly after, "Rooms at The Duke William" became available after a full refurbishment in May.
The recently announced "Morden & Lea" restaurant is Mark's first central London restaurant in Soho. Split over two floors, the ground floor serves a whole variety of British small plates, snacks and charcuterie, making this a relaxed and casual dining experience for walk ins. Moving up to the first floor, Mark created a more contemporary menu for a sophisticated yet affordable dining experience, which perfectly overlooks Soho.