Meet the Chef: Mark Williams

PHOTO BY MICHAEL DONAHUE.
Mark Williams, sous chef at The Brushmark Restaurant, has a weakness for ice cream and a distaste for Funyuns.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

PHOTO BY MICHAEL DONAHUE. Mark Williams, sous chef at The Brushmark Restaurant, has a weakness for ice cream and a distaste for Funyuns.

Title: Sous chef at The Brushmark Restaurant in Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Age: 41

Hometown: Memphis

Who or what was your first cooking influence?

My mother. She cooked a lot of Southern. I remember her last meal she ever cooked for me a year before she passed was chicken and dumplings from scratch, mashed potatoes, biscuits from scratch.

What was the first thing you ever cooked or baked?

Scrambled eggs. I was probably about 9 years old and the parents were gone. ... I didn't know the amount to do, so I basically just did the whole dozen eggs and scrambled them.

What made you decide to become a chef, and when was that?

I started shucking oysters at a bar down in LSU (Louisiana State University). I learned from some Cajuns about gumbo. And just the food and how they were experiencing the fun. And food to me is sensorial. It's all about the taste and all the senses. And the mental senses. I went from there. It just sparked something.

What was something important that a fellow chef taught you?

There's always something to learn. And basically humble yourself. And don't be afraid to make mistakes. Ben Smith (executive chef/owner of Tsunami restaurant) is someone I worked with that I really learned a lot from.

What do you cook at home, if anything?

I do a lot of curries. A lot of Asian. A lot of rice dishes.

What is your favorite food?

It's gotta be ice cream. Peanut butter chocolate from Baskin-Robbins.

What is your least favorite food?

I hate Funyuns. Does that count as food?

The Brushmark is at 1934 Poplar in Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Overton Park; 901-544-6225

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