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Unveiling Excellence: Meet Our Executive Chef, Mark Brown

23 Apr 2024
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Introducing Nyetimber’s Executive Chef, Mark Brown. With experience from Michelin-starred restaurants and a passion for seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, Mark brings a fresh perspective to crafting dishes at Nyetimber. Mark’s “less is more” philosophy prioritises harmonising flavours with Nyetimber’s diverse wine offerings. Join us on this culinary journey with Mark, where food and wine converge to create an unforgettable dining experience at Nyetimber.


Can you share a bit about your culinary journey leading up to your role as the chef at Nyetimber? What experiences or moments have shaped your approach to crafting dishes?


My experience in Michelin-starred restaurants has afforded me the privilege of meeting many influential individuals who have significantly shaped my approach to crafting dish ideas and, more importantly, my culinary philosophy. Travelling with these principles has been integral to my culinary journey, providing insights into local food philosophies, diverse ingredients, and the ever-changing seasons.

Recently, I had the opportunity to cook in the US, specifically in the Hamptons, alongside the owner of 11 Madison Park. This experience emphasised the importance of detail and technique in my cooking. The abundance of seafood, particularly ceviche and crudo, greatly influenced our menu choices during this time.

During my time in the Hamptons, Nyetimber caught my attention. The prospect of spearheading an in-house food offering from the ground up was immensely appealing to me. With Eric and Hannah’s discerning eye for detail, it didn’t take much persuasion for me to embark on this new chapter.


What inspires your culinary creations? Are there specific cuisines, chefs, or cultural influences that play a significant role in your cooking style?


Nowadays, I prioritise seasonality and embrace a “less is more” philosophy in my cooking. I’m constantly tuned into what’s inspiring and exciting in the culinary world. For me, the challenge lies in achieving maximum flavour with minimal ingredients, and it all begins with exceptional raw produce. Fortunately, here at the Nyetimber Estate, we’re lucky enough to be accelerating our vegetable garden growing program to fulfil many of our kitchen needs moving forward.

Executive Chef Mark Brown
Executive Chef Mark Brown


Nyetimber is renowned for its exceptional sparkling wines. How do you approach crafting dishes that complement these wines?


We’re all familiar with the exceptional quality of sparkling wine produced at Nyetimber. It’s my responsibility to carefully craft flavours that complement the wine without overshadowing it. Additionally, Nyetimber wines boast a complexity in profile, each with standout qualities. One notable example is the Classic Cuvée, which pairs exceptionally well with white fish and even truffles.


The concept of “field to fork” cooking emphasises using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. How do you incorporate this philosophy into your culinary practices at Nyetimber?


We’re currently working on establishing a growing program in collaboration with the gardeners here at the Nyetimber Estate. We anticipate that our efforts will yield produce as early as next month, with the arrival of our white and green asparagus. Needless to say, I’m thrilled at the prospect of incorporating such high-quality produce directly into our menus. 


Are there any favourite local ingredients or suppliers that you often feature in your dishes at Nyetimber? What makes these ingredients special to you?


I’m relatively new to the Sussex area, so I recognise the significance of immersing myself in the local food scene. Discovering and forging connections with locals will be integral to shaping the culinary direction here at Nyetimber. There are lots of amazing local suppliers offering fresh to produce – I am loving the exceptional smoked trout at Charlie’s Trout at the moment. There’s an abundance of culinary delights waiting to be explored and incorporated into our menus. I aim to showcase the richness and diversity of the local gastronomic landscape, offering our visitors a truly authentic dining experience.

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What aspects of pairing food with sparkling wine do you find most intriguing or exciting?


The innate bubbles of sparkling wine lend a unique versatility when it comes to food pairing. With Nyetimber offering seven different wines, I feel incredibly fortunate and enthusiastic about exploring the endless possibilities that these wines have to offer.

How do you balance innovation and tradition in your cooking at Nyetimber? Are there any traditional dishes or techniques that you enjoy putting a modern twist on?

With my classical training background, I heavily draw inspiration from the classics. As I mentioned, I employ a “less is more” approach, prioritising seasonal ingredients. Cooking what grows together is my mantra, and it’s what makes this journey with Nyetimber so exciting. Recently, we utilised the abundance of wild garlic to create flavourful pesto and purees, crafted sorbets from the luscious rhubarb, and we eagerly await the arrival of the first asparagus of the season. These dishes not only celebrate the freshness of the ingredients but also harmonise perfectly with the exquisite Nyetimber wines, elevating the overall dining experience.

What do you hope diners take away from their experience at Nyetimber, both in terms of the estate, the food and the wine? What kind of culinary journey do you aim to take them on during their visit?

It’s essential for diners to leave feeling that their culinary journey has seamlessly complemented their wine tasting experience. I strive for the food to serve as the perfect accompaniment, enhancing the flavours of the wine without overshadowing them. It’s truly a privilege to work with such exceptional wine, and I take great pride in showcasing them through carefully crafted dishes. It’s all about creating a harmonious symphony of flavours where both food and wine shine brightly, leaving diners with a memorable and satisfying experience.

What advice would you give to home cooks who are interested in experimenting with pairing food and sparkling wine? Are there any general guidelines or principles they should keep in mind?


When it comes to English sparkling wine, I consider buttery, creamy textures complemented by vibrant citrus flavours. However, it’s essential to recognize that our palates vary, and there’s no one-size-fits-all rule. That said, Nyetimber sparkling wine tends to pair beautifully with fresh seafood or delicate white fish dishes accentuated with citrus undertones. Additionally, it complements poultry and gamey flavours, such as Guinea fowl, with equal finesse.

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