Meet the chef: Mark Hix of Hix Oyster & Fish House

PUBLISHED: 14:55 19 August 2016 | UPDATED: 15:02 19 August 2016

Chef Mark Hix in the kitchen

Chef Mark Hix in the kitchen

©Charlotte Anderson

Celebrated chef, restaurateur and food writer Mark Hix is known for his original take on British gastronomy. He has several restaurants in London as well as the HIX Oyster & Fish House in his home town of Lyme Regis

Dorset-born chef Mark Hix launched his first restaurant in 2008 – the HIX Oyster & Chop House in Farringdon. Two months later he opened the HIX Oyster & Fish House in his home town of Lyme Regis, where he also has HIX Townhouse, a boutique hotel. A string of acclaimed restaurants in the capital followed, including a collaboration with artist Damien Hirst called Pharmacy2 at Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall. Mark is also the driving force behind the annual Food Rocks festival at Lyme Regis.

Tell me about the smells and tastes of your childhood

The tomatoes when I opened my grandfather’s greenhouse - at night I helped him water and spray the plants but during the day the waft of the tomatoes was incredible.

What inspired you to get involved in cooking?

I didn’t have a clue what to do career wise in the fifth year at school and I ended up doing domestic science instead of metalwork.

What inspires your menus?

Everything is inspiring if you are interested in food: supermarkets, farmers markets, holidays and magazines or a stroll through the woods. Seasons are important and what’s growing at what time of year and that’s what naturally influences the menus.

What flavours or textures are exciting your tastebuds?

Game, mushrooms, hedgerow fruits and of course late berries and fish and all sorts of things!

Tell me about the Food Rocks festival

Food Rocks takes place over the first weekend in September and teams up with Guitars On The Beach. Together we welcome musicians, local artisan producers and foodies to the sea front in Lyme Regis.

This is the fourth year I have hosted the festival and all proceeds raised go to the Fishermens Mission, RNLI and the Blue Marine Foundation. This year Guitars on the Beach will be donating to Cancer Research UK. The weekend has fun for all the family.

What do you enjoy eating when you are at home?

EVERYTHING! I love a good Chinese - as they eat a lot of offal. So if I’m working late I’ll often take myself off for a good Chinese.

When I am at home I’ll cook whatever is in the fridge using up leftovers - you can always turn leftovers into something creative. It’s nice to be invited to people’s houses for dinner - I’m not hard to please. The simpler the better so long as it’s cooked from scratch and of course it’s best when the ingredients are in season.

What would be your perfect supper and who would you share it with and where?

It would be with my Grandpa Bill, Grandma Ellen and my daughters Ellie and Lydia. My daughters have become very keen cooks in themselves after so many years of finding what I do very boring. So I’d love for us all to meet and share generations of foods stories.

What’s on the menu?

• Cocktails - Hix Fix: Somerset Morello cherry eau de vie combined with Furleigh Estate sparkling

• Rock oysters - Three scrumpy-fried rock oysters with spiced mayonnaise

• Starters - Lyme Bay scallops with Trealy Farm chorizo and marsh samphire

• Isle of Wight Tomatoes - Grilled Lyme Bay cuttlefish with Isle of Wight tomatoes and sea sandwort

• Mains - Fillet of Lyme Bay cod with Poole clams and seashore vegetables

• Puddings - Milk chocolate fondue with Cheddar Valley strawberries to share

HIX Oyster & Fish House, Cobb Rd, Lyme Regis DT7 3JP; 01297 446910 | Open 12-10pm daily

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