Birchall prides himself in his near-theatrical presentation and execution of food, all of which comes together in harmony with no single course standing out – but in a good way. Each plate that is brought through from the electric kitchen environment complements the last and the next, with the combination of dishes designed to come together as a whole. A beautiful arrangement and one that is hard to forget.
With everything made on the premises, from the whipped butter and alpine cheese to the home-brewed honey mead used for one of his famed desserts, it’s clear to see that Birchall takes his commitment to astounding food to a whole new level, but this is unsurprising given how he jumped in at the deep end right at the start of his career.
Immediately after finishing catering college, Birchall’s talents were noticed and he landed his first job at Michelin Starred The Walnut Tree, where he claims he really learned how to season food properly under the watchful eye of head-chef Franco Taruschio. From there he transitioned back to his home county of Northcote to work with Nigel Haworth, where his love for local sourced, seasonal produce was first born: ‘Nigel went to the extreme in sourcing regional produce ¬– he even bought an indigenous herd of cattle!’ he says in an interview with Great British Chefs. ‘He taught me how important local, seasonal produce is, not only in terms of quality but how it helps the local economy. Nigel has always been incredible when it comes to cooking meat, and his sauces were amazing. It was at Northcote that I really learnt how to cook.’
Before taking the helm at Moor Hall, Birchall took on the job as sous-chef in critically acclaimed L’Enclume where, despite the current chef and menu already holding a Michelin star, he decided to make some changes which ended up in transforming the offerings into a 100% British menu with food sourced from its own farm. Shortly after, they won their second star.
After this, Mark set out on his own and opened his very own restaurant, Moor Hall, in September 2016. Carrying with him his respect of and understanding for fantastic, seasonal, local produce (he even has his own cheese-making suite, butchery and charcuterie room alongside his kitchen garden and small brewery!) and artfully presented dishes, it’s no wonder that rave reviews and Michelin stars are pouring in for this young restaurant that we can only see getting more and more impressive in years to come.