Gaining a silver in the recent Taste Of Kent awards has seen a surge in bookings for Ramsgate’s Marc-Pierre’s Kitchen – and a spreading of income into the local economy as those customers book hotels and visit other establishments and attractions.
Marc Pierre’s, in West Cliff Arcade, is headed up by Marc and Anastasiya Campos along with chef Andrew Mitchell.
Marc opened the doors to the venture in October 2019 – just a few months before the covid lockdowns began and heading into a winter season.
The businessman and professional golfer laughed: “My dad had five restaurants in Thanet back in the day and just said to me ‘what idiot opens a restaurant going into winter!’”
Despite a winter opening, covid, Brexit and the cost of living crisis, Marc Pierre’s Kitchen has become a hotspot for people wanting to try out the ultra-local and fresh menu.
Marc said: “All the things that have been thrown at us – cost of living, Brexit, lockdown – but this award has brought a whole new demographic. People from Ashford, Maidstone, Tenterden and across Kent. They are planning their journeys and coming here specifically to us but then they need hotels and breakfasts and I am really happy about this. It is from the Taste of Kent award.
“It was completely out of the blue that we made the final, the first Ramsgate restaurant to do so, and I didn’t think we had a chance, but we got silver.”
The award, in the casual dining category, is a recognition of the quality of the menu which uses primarily Thanet, and some Kent-wide, suppliers, with a daily menu based on seasonal catch and produce.
Fish and seafood comes from Ramsgate and other east Kent suppliers, Nash Farm provides veg, Chandler & Dunn in Ash supply meat and beers from from breweries including Gadds in Pysons Road
Marc, who previously travelled the world as a professional golfer, is also a stockist from The Sporting Wine Club. The club suppliers are winemakers but only those with a sporting pedigree, meaning the stock comes from vineyards owned or invested in by greats such as Nick Faldo, Graham Gooch and Lionel Messi.
The increase in business has also prompted plans for new staff and greater experimentation in the kitchen.
The former Chatham House lad, who was trained in catering by his dad, said: ”We are going to get more chefs and a mixologist. It is warranted now so it is all systems go.
“In the kitchen Mitch and I are having an experimental phase. The only freezer here is for the ice cream, everything we have is delivered fresh on the day and we plan the menu from the local fisherman’s catch and what’s coming in, for instance wild garlic. It’s really important to us that everything we use is local to Kent.
“We are smoking our own fish and mussels and we know we are going to sell it.
“We are even getting new Thanet people coming in, some who never even knew we were here, so we are being discovered by Thanetonians too.”
Dishes include everything from Ramsgate cockle popcorn, local foraged fennel, Kentish beef nachos, Hythe dressed crab Ramsgate allotment rhubarb compote and a Taste of Kent celebration cheeseboard with cheeses from Canterbury Cheesemakers.
And for those with food intolerances, there is good news. Both Marc-Pierre and head chef ‘Mitch’ are coeliac, meaning they are certified, qualified, coeliac chefs but also that the kitchen is entirely gluten free.