Originating from the United Kingdom as Fellow Master Chef of Great Britain (F.M.C.G.B.), Chef Mark William Allison has found a new home in the Queen City. Allison is Dean of Culinary Education at Johnson & Wales University and is next in line to host the March segment of Let's Cook, featured on News 14 Carolina and Carolina on Demand 1234. The cooking segment is hosted by instructors and students from Johnson & Wales University who create everything from Southern comfort dishes to fragrant appetizers.
Creative Loafing: What do you have in store for your upcoming segment of Let's Cook?
Mark William Allison: My segments will be on healthy eating and sourcing the best local products to make easy-to-prepare delicious meals for the whole family.
Tell me a little about your encounter with then-Prime Minister Tony Blair.
I won the Craft Guild of Chefs Education & Training Award (the equivalent of the ACF [American Culinary Federation] Educator of the Year). I was then invited to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair. This was in recognition of my dedication to the Education and Hospitality field in Wales in 2003. It has to be one of the highlights of my career, to be honored by the prime minister himself.
You seem to have been very accomplished in your profession in Great Britain. When you moved to the States, did you have to reclaim your culinary status?
In the U.K., it was nice to be among a small group of individuals who were considered to be at the top of their profession. I would be invited to judge national competitions, sit on educational advisory boards, invited to awards dinners with the likes of Gordon Ramsey. Coming to the States, I really had to start over and prove myself. Over the past five years living in America, I have worked hard to achieve the success I have now. Having said that, it has not been hard because I enjoy what I do. I still have a very long way to go. America is huge, compared to the U.K., to get to the top, but as they say, nothing in life worth achieving is easy.