• Omni Amelia Island

Food Brings Back Memories Through All Five Senses

Updated: Mar 13, 2020

Once you have visited our coastal barrier island, it's hard not to fantasize about a life here: Saturdays at the Farmer's Market, monthly chef's dinners at The Sprouting Project, sunrise and sunset strolls or biking to work.

However, it was the magic Chef Mark found behind the scenes at Omni Amelia Island Resort that brought him to this remarkable destination.

A celebrated Pastry Chef, he brings years of hospitality leadership and culinary creativity to the resort. We sat down with Chef Mark to learn about why he loves working with one of our favorite ingredients - chocolate - and much, much more.

Why do you believe people consider desserts an indulgence? "We are taught from a young age that dessert is not a necessity, but often it's used as a reward or punishment. We may have been sent to bed without dessert (in my case it was probably deserved), but we always had dinner. As adults, that reasoning sticks with us. Anther factor is the caloric and fat content consumed during a large meal. Its easier for some to cut out dessert rather than eat a smaller steak and less fries."

What is your favorite part of your work? "Pure hospitality. I have the ability to turn an 'off moment' into an incredible memory for a guest through the power of beautiful food. The science behind pastry is what got me started in this industry, but my passion for hospitality is what keeps me going. After a long day there is nothing more rewarding for me than a thrilled guest.  Also, I really enjoy mentoring my team and watching a cook develop into a chef. It's a great feeling!"

Was there another career you thought about pursuing before you decided on a career in culinary? "I had a couple of paths before I got on this one. I was in school for psychology and was headed to the NYPD academy to become a trauma counselor for the NYPD. I also passed up two European tours playing the drums with Sony records to continue my career goals as a pastry chef. Ultimately, I spent a day at one of Manhattan's top restaurants and my life completely changed."

What is your go to comfort food?

  • PB&J

  • Sesame bagel egg sandwich

  • Marshmallows

  • Chinese food

Who is your favorite cook? "This one is tough. I admire so many cooks and chefs alike.  I'm a big fan of Antonio Bachour and Amaury Guichon, both are true artists in the pastry world. Jose Andrés also tops my list as what he gives back to the global community is far beyond the reach of most of us." Why do you believe food has such a hold on people emotionally? 

"There are three things I believe bring people together: music, food and dance. Out of these three we can not survive without food.  It brings back memories through all five senses.  A momentary scent of something can transport you of your childhood. It happens to me almost everyday. Personally, I love that warm fuzzy feeling and I believe people want to connect and hold onto that nostalgia, too."

Check out this video about Chef Mark's passion for one of our favorite ingredients - chocolate and make a date to sample some of Chef Mark's amazing pastries at Marché Burette located in The Shops of Omni Amelia Island.

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