Marcus Wareing: ‘If you cut me in half it would say, cook'

The Staff Canteen

Marcus Wareing Discusses his upbringing and how he became a top chef on The High Performance Podcast

The High Performance Podcast focuses on achieving high performance in life and what that means for the most successful people. In episode 133 they spoke to Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing regarding his experiences as a chef, what he defines as high performance in his life and how he developed his ideas.

Work-life balance

To start the conversation Marcus talked about how his father was really where he learnt what high performance meant and how he took a lot of inspiration from him and his workaholic nature in terms of how to work hard. H

When most people discuss having workaholic parents they talk about how they learnt to have a better work-life balance and to take things easier – to not make the mistakes their parents did. However, when Marcus discussed his dad, and how he would spend work 16 to 18-hour days seven days a week, he said, “I wouldn’t be sitting here today if that wasn’t there. What people think you miss out on is only what they think you miss out on. I missed out on nothing.”

Marcus did admit that his dad didn’t get everything right when it came to work-life balance as he said: “I saw a very powerful man with very basic thinking of life that set me up for life and, so, I look back with gratitude and respect. What  I won’t do necessarily is follow in his footsteps in some of the things that he missed out on.

“The one key thing that he missed out on is that when he eventually retired… his children had all grown up and left and he hadn’t spent any time with them. So, in the life that I have lived, I have spent time with my children.”

While Marcus has ensured that he has spent time with his family and avoided overworking and missing out on things like his father did he did say: “There was one thing I said to my girlfriend/fiancé/wife and that was ‘never ever ask me to be anything else apart from a chef’ I’m a chef through and through. If you cut me in half it would say, cook.”

‘A light that I had to go and reach’

Regarding his first job, at The Savoy and his first time in London, Marcus said: “There was no plan. There was no goal of I want to do this, I want to open a restaurant, I want to do XYZ. I was very basic in my thinking, and it was one job at a time.

“But the minute I stepped foot into the kitchen I worked in, within the first two or three days, I’d set a date of when I was going to leave and then I was gonna go on to the next job. I never knew what that next job was, but I set that goal to set myself, a light that I had to go and reach.”

When asked where he learnt that from or if something in his history had taught him to think like that Marcus said: “I think it was my only way of getting through it. I really found London tough. I found it really cold, sharp, unfriendly, and dark. I’d go to work it was dark, I’d come home it was dark. No one spoke to you. Sometimes in the kitchen people wouldn’t speak to you.

“I think that was my way of setting a get out of jail card, basically, if I get to that I’m out of that jail and I then go and stupidly jump into another one. But every time where I felt any point where it was getting really difficult, I knew my dad was at the warehouse at 12 o’clock at night.”

He discussed how no matter how late he would get home from those jobs he would call his dad and his dad would be up and talk to him and one of the defining things his dad would say is “you’re not coming back to Southport.”

Imposter syndrome

Even the top chefs in the world experience imposter syndrome or did throughout their rise to the top. This was the same for Marcus.

Marcus’s advice in combatting imposter syndrome or feeling like you don’t belong wasn’t just to push through it as many others say or to trick yourself into thinking you belong. Instead, he said: “Find someone to lean on. You’ve got to find someone to talk to. You need to find someone but whoever that is in your life you need to make sure that person is a rock. Someone that you can’t budge that you can lean on, that can support you.

“Don’t find someone that is like you or someone that has failed before. Find someone, it could be a teacher, it could be a lecturer, it could be an aunt, an uncle, a granny, a granddad, someone in your life if there is one. If there’s not someone you know go find a book.”

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th August 2022

Marcus Wareing: ‘If you cut me in half it would say, cook'