Congratulations to our Executive Chef, Mark Samson and his wife Michelle who were married in August and have been powering the creativity and deliciousness of our cuisine at JCC since 2015.
Joshua Charles Catering recently celebrated 3 years working with Executive Chef, Mark Samson. Originally a native of Long Beach, Mark trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena before moving to Santa Barbara in 2012 and later to Silicon Valley in 2015.
“I started my career staging at various restaurants, weeks at a time, to land jobs at the best restaurants. I wanted to learn everything that I could about what it takes to be a great chef. This ultimately was a turning point for me. I started working at a Joe’s Restaurant, a Michelin one star up-and-coming hot spot off Abbot Kinney in Venice CA where the Los Angeles food scene was taking off. At Joe’s, the menu changed daily, allowing me to learn to cook various proteins, vegetables, and sauces with contemporary and modern techniques. It was a do or die place, where you didn’t survive if you weren’t on point.”
Over the course of time, Mark finetuned his craft to add the art of professionalism and the value of respect – not only for the ingredients he used to cook with but also for the kitchen team and setup.
After his stint at Joe’s, Mark joined the Zarate Restaurant Group and helped open Paiche in Marina Del Rey, eventually introducing Peruvian flavors and Japanese ingredients to his menus. Paiche was later named “Best New Restaurant” in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Zagat. After a short time with Spago in Beverly Hills, Mark became Executive Chef at Blue Tavern in Santa Barbara, named “Best Restaurant” for the city by Zagat. Mark later worked with the Sprout Restaurant Group alongside Tim Hollingsworth and Rory Hermann to create another restaurant in Santa Barbara as a chef de cuisine before moving to the Bay Area in 2015 to become Executive Chef at Joshua Charles Catering.
Mark’s kitchen philosophy incorporates three essential elements:
#1: Incorporate Diversity
It is so important to have a diverse work environment and a focus on all cuisines and cultures. And to have a kitchen where as cooks we teach and share, which later we take on the role as a teacher. It is important for us to develop others, to not only to build our companies, but to build ourselves as chefs.
#2: Make It Yours
For any chef in training, it’s essential to learn the process of techniques through endless repetition until it belongs to you.
#3: Provide A Sensory Experience
For myself, food not only needs to taste good, but must also provide an experience. A connection with all human senses. Using only the best ingredients and treating each one with respect will essentially never fail you as a chef.
Recently married to Michelle Samson, Pastry Chef at Joshua Charles Catering and author of several culinary books. Mark met his future wife in his last class of culinary school and has worked professionally with her as his pastry chef for the past 5 years. He points out, “We’ve grown together in the kitchen as well as at home. We’re having fun raising our beautiful daughter, Ella, who is starting to enjoy trying and tasting our cooking as much as we do. I expect to have her palate well trained by the time she is 3 years old!”