What can Business Owners learn from an Award-Winning Chef?


    Mark Threadgill an award winning chef

    As accountants assisting hospitality business owners in achieving their goals, we regularly engage in inspiring conversations with passionate chefs. Recently, we had the privilege of sitting down with Mark Threadgill, Head Chef of Portmeirion and a Great British Menu finalist. In this three-part blog, we delve into topics such as The Great British Menu, kitchen cost management, profitability enhancement, menu pricing, and quality maintenance in the hospitality industry. Mark’s insights, shared in this series, offer valuable lessons for business owners in this beloved industry.

    Part 1 (this blog)

    In Part 1, we discuss Mark’s early days, his rise to Head Chef and The Great British Menu experience.

    Part 2

    In Part 2, we discuss how Mark manages costs, prices menus effectively and improves profitability.

    Part 3

    In Part 3, we discuss why Mark believes reviewing the Financials Regularly is important and how he creates a winning mindset within his Team.


    Rhys Edwards discussing how can business owners learn from an award winning chef? With Mark Threadgill

    Getting Started

    Mark, the culinary genius behind Portmeirion’s Award-Winning Art Deco Hotel Dining Room, hails from Criccieth, a coastal town near Portmeirion. His culinary adventure commenced as a pot washer at Granville’s in Criccieth, providing him with his first taste of a bustling kitchen—a pivotal moment on his path to becoming the chef he is today.


    Mark Threadgill young chef

    Mark in his early years at Portmeirion


    Following this, Mark embarked on an apprenticeship at Portmeirion, commencing a day after leaving school. This experience ignited his passion for cooking, leading to his ascent to Junior Sous Chef after laboring 50-60 hours per week.


    A trip to France

    However, Mark’s ambition extended beyond North Wales. Encouraged by a French colleague, he bought the Michelin guide at WH Smiths, a decision that opened doors to opportunities beyond his hometown. His culinary journey took him to a 2-star Michelin Restaurant in Ludlow and, significantly, to Restaurant Pierre Reboul with Pier Roboul in France. Here, he not only honed his skills in modern French cuisine but also developed a deep appreciation for fresh produce, even personally sourcing ingredients like tomatoes and asparagus—a departure from conventional delivery systems.


    Rise to Head Chef and Changing Times

    Mark’s return to North Wales saw him briefly working at Plas Bodegroes before taking on the role of Breakfast Chef at Portmeirion. What began as a respite from his arduous previous positions evolved into a remarkable 12-year journey, culminating in his appointment as Head Chef at this esteemed establishment.


    Over the past 12 years, Mark has noticed that food trends have significantly shifted. Today’s customers are more adventurous, knowledgeable about food, and are willing to try out new dishes. This shift in dining culture has been an instrumental part of Mark’s journey, shaping his menu and approach over the years.


    Mark shared invaluable insights on adapting to customers’ needs and evolving with time. He explained that as a chef, you cannot impose drastic changes immediately for fear of losing customers. It’s a slow and steady process, as he discovered when he gradually phased out potatoes from every dish, a staple his customers had come to expect!


    The Great British Menu Experience

    Mark’s tenure at Portmeirion resulted in numerous accolades, including 2 AA rosettes and recognition as ‘The Best Hotel Restaurant in the UK.’ The restaurant also gained prominence in culinary guides like Michelin, Hardens, and Good Food Guide.


    These achievements caught the attention of the organizers of the BBC’s  “Great British Menu” in 2023. where Mark was invited to participate. This particular season paid tribute to Paddington Bear’s 65th birthday, challenging chefs like Mark to draw inspiration from British animation and illustration for their signature dishes.


    In response to this unique challenge, Mark crafted a banquet that paid homage to the Welsh fantasy story, The Tales of Mabinogion, and the charm of Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. His culinary creativity earned him a place in the finals, though he narrowly missed the opportunity to showcase his talents at the banquet.


    Despite this setback, Mark reflected warmly on the experience. He appreciated the chance to cook alongside some of the UK’s top chefs and engage in insightful conversations about food and business—knowledge he considers vital to his craft.


    What can business owners learn from an Award-Winning chef?

    That concludes Part 1 for this blog; however, in Part 2 and Part 3 we take a closer look at how Mark balances his culinary skills with managing the financial constraints of running a kitchen.


    This information is subject to change and is not professional advice. Refer to our disclaimer for more details.  

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