Introduction to Chef Mark:
When we decided to buy and reopen the Blackwater Café we also decided to hire an executive chef from either The
Culinary Institute of America (CIA) or Johnson & Wales. While there are many culinary schools around the country
these two are widely recognized as two of the very best. It is important that our executive chef have a four year degree
with a strong culinary focus with hands on experience and leadership ability. Chef Mark is a graduate of the prestigious
Culinary Institute of America (CIA),
Mark was one of many candidates that we interviewed over a several week span but we kept going back to him for
many reasons. We wanted someone who shared our values and vision for quality, food safety and customer service.
Mark has a creative side without an ego. Meaning that he was willing to be part of a process and share and entertain
ideas. In addition, his management style is demanding yet calm. Most importantly, Chef Mark shares our priority for
providing the best dining experience. He is very customer focused and always willing to do his best to meet the
customer requests. One of the major selling points during the interview for me was when Mark wanted to know more
about our local customers. He wanted to understand what the customers wanted first before telling me what his
thoughts were about the menu.
Please feel free to ask for Chef Mark if you have any specific questions or requests.
A few words from Chef Mark:
As Tom mentioned I am a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York. I
found it to be an enriching experience, gaining a strong base of culinary knowledge. My first job out of school took
me to Durham, North Carolina where I worked at Magnolia Grill with Ben & Karen Barker, the chefs and owners of a
highly regarded restaurant. I spent two and a half years working in an environment where wonderful food was
created, using local, fresh ingredients. Chef Ben became a mentor to me and taught me how to cook within the
I then moved onto Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee where I worked with Chef John Fleer and his “Foot Hills
Cuisine”. I learned from John that there is “Southern Food” all over the world and a chef should look toward all the
corners of the world for inspiration in cooking.
Before coming to The Blackwater Café, I spent the last nine years as Executive Chef at Snowbird Mountain Lodge in
Robbinsville, North Carolina where I developed my own style of seasonal American cuisine that featured local
mountain trout as well as local fruit and produce.
I owe a lot of gratitude to my grandma from Toadvine, Alabama. She was my inspiration for getting into the kitchen.
As a young boy, I would get up early to watch her “choke out” cathead biscuits by hand, cook the best fried okra in
the universe, make chicken and dumplings and fry grit cakes that were so tasty. Thanks grandma for giving me my
I am very pleased to be serving you at The Blackwater Café. My wife, Michelle, and I love this area and look forward
to being here a long time. I look forward to sourcing fresh fish from all over the world, using only Certified Angus
Beef and creating a seasonal menu that offers something for everyone.
|Located at Beautiful Smith Mountain Lake
4730 Scruggs Road, Moneta, Virginia 24121