Just the thought of going to a Marc Fosh restaurant makes you hungry, but not as hungry as he is for reinventing himself and pushing the boundaries of cooking. Marc has been working in Majorca for 22 years and has been awarded a Michelin Star on two occasions. He currently holds one for his world famous restaurant Simply Fosh, the only restaurant in Palma to have a Michelin Star.
Until recently, he also had Misa, a more casual eatery. However, after five years, he decided to close Misa for a number of reasons - he and the owners of the hotel never managed to really gel but he also had a project which he had been playing around with in his head for a couple of years and decided to go for it.
The Fosh brand is going to be opening three new establishments over the next few months. Within the next few weeks, Marc is going to be opening the Fosh Lab in calle Morey, just off Santa Eulalia behind the City Hall. The restaurant is going to be totally unique to the island and will revolutionise gastronomy in Palma. Marc describes it as "his playground".
"After so many years of running a top-class restaurant, you kind of get on the treadmill of a daily routine and it can then become very difficult to step off, to find time to step back and experiment because you have to maintain the standards the clientele expect day in, day out. So, here in the lab, under the guidance of my excellent chef Raul, who is full of passion, we are going to let that passion out. I am going to have a small team of my chefs experimenting, playing, thinking out of the box.
"Nothing will be planned too much, I don’t want to put any limits or barriers on the kitchen. Obviously we’ll have a vague idea of what we’re doing, a kind of gastronomic road map which will be guided by what’s in season, but we’ll go to the markets every day, get what’s fresh from our own farm, and then just get into the kitchen, start experimenting and see what happens. Every day we’ll come in and have a blank page. I want the team to be creative, and some of the dishes we invent will make their may onto the menu at Simply.
"But it’s not all gong to be fun and games because every evening we will be serving a tasting menu for 25 people, and I want the standard to be that of a Michelin star team. And that is another area I wanted to develop. Most of the cooking and plating etc. is going to take place front of house so the clients can interact with the chefs and each other. I want it to be a gastronomic experience. Over the cooking area, for example, we’re going to have cameras which will be live streaming what the chefs are doing to screens, so guests can either come to the cooking station and see what’s going on and talk to the chef or sit back and admire their skills from the comfort of their table.
"Within the next two weeks, it’s going to become a reality and it’s already causing a bit on a sensation. It’s a bit like what we used to do at Tasca and a lot of people have been telling me that they miss that close relationship with the chefs. We’re already taking bookings, we have a waiting list. Yes, I guess the lab is going to be targeted at ‘foodies’. If you want dinner out with your wife or friends, then it’s best to go one of my other restaurants, because here people are going to share the same passion for food and wine and I want them to share that - not just with the chefs but with each other. However, they’re going to have to wait a little longer because on the first night we’re going to be cooking for all of the builders who have worked on this project in record time. They still think I’m joking, but I’m serious: they’ve done a great job."
Just across the street, Marc is going to be opening Fosh Food and Fosh Heladeria (home made ice cream). "When we had the delicatessen before at Tasca, I guess I didn’t really take it that seriously, so we’re opening another and we’ll be serving fresh pastries, ice cream and other products, but that will probably not open until towards the end of the summer."
What will be opening in the meantime, and probably just days after the lab fires up, is going to be Fosh Kitchen in calle Orfila on the premises of what used to be Can Frasquet, one of Palma’s oldest and most famous patisseries, which closed a year ago.
"This is going to replace Misa. The philosophy is going to be different to Simply. For example, in the evenings we only do tasting menus now. Here I guess I’m going back to my Simply roots. We’re going to be cooking great fish, meat and vegetables, we’ll have set menus and à la carte. I guess it’s going to be classic Fosh. I will be stripping back some of dishes we’ve gone on to serve at Simply, get back to my roots in a way. What is more it’s a great location. We’re going to have a huge terrace and eventually I’d like to start doing brunches and have the kitchen open all day. We’re already getting a lot of interest from many of our loyal customers who loved Misa."
But while Marc and many of his contemporaries in Palma are investing in reinventing themselves and pushing the boundaries of gastronomy, he says that he gets frustrated by the lack of forward thinking the local authorities have with regards to promoting the city as a gastronomic destination.
"It’s all about selling the story. Look at what Copenhagen has done over the past few years: they’ve been able to sell the story of their food and local produce and it’s worked. I think the problem here is that we’re so used to having such great produce and food, the local authorities don’t fully appreciate what we’ve got and don’t know how to sell it.
"There is so much more than sobrassada and Quely biscuits, but that is all they seem to bring out at events overseas. It’s not what we’re about in Palma any more. We’ve got great young chefs all doing exciting things, but for the most part it goes unnoticed and until somebody grasps the idea of what is going on, Palma is going to continue struggling to get noticed. It’s happening but only slowly and that annoys me. We also need a few more Michelin Stars in the city."