Sudden death of Mark CharlishFebruary 25th, 2011 by H&R | Categories: tourism
Mark Charlish, a member of Academy of Chefs, the honour society of the South African Chefs Association, has died. He was in his late 50s and had been living and working in Plettenberg Bay, where he ran his own businesses for about 15 years.
Philippe Frydman, chairman of the academy said: “It is with tremendous sadness that we heard the news of our dear friend and colleague Mark Charlish passing away after suffering a severe stroke.
“An outstanding chef and a wonderful human being, Mark was not only a good friend but also a great chef and great supporter of the Academy of Chefs and the South African Chefs Association.
“Member of various winning SACA teams competing overseas he was always prepared to help promote the art of cookery here and overseas.
“Helping young up and coming chef was also part of his being.
“Mark worked in South Africa but also fell in love with the East where he spend quite a few years before returning to South Africa and settling down in the Eastern Cape.
“He will be sadly missed by all family, friends and colleagues. We wish him all well in the big kitchen in the sky where he already must be restructuring and ensuring that the quality of the equipment is up to standard. Mark Keep it cooking.”
Born in Britain and the grandson of a hotelier who ran a hotel in Windsor, Mark Charlish came to South Africa in the late 1970s to work for Southern Sun. He was educated at the Licensed Victuallers School and Thames Valley University.
Before commencing his tertiary education, he worked as a trainee at the Schweizerhof Hotel in Basel, Switzerland, for five months in 1972. While working at hotels near Heathrow outside London he was attracted by South Africa’s sunshine for a holiday and then recruited by Southern Sun.
Clutching a surfboard he was met at the airport by Martin Fine who told him that the group had planned to send him to Sun City but now thought it might be better for him to work at Beacon Island.
He worked for a number of Southern Sun hotels over the next few years progressing to executive chef positions before moving to what was then the Ritz Hotel in Sea Point till 1989.
After a spell at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Britain, he moved to China where he worked for New World Hotels and the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Beijing. The lure warm seas drew him back again with his family and he set up and opened Hog Hollow Country Lodge near Plettenberg Bay.
It soon became one of the places to stay and dine in the area and he stayed there for nearly eight years before leaving the business to his partners and returning again to Beijing to further hone his skills in Chinese and oriental cuisine.
Charlish came back to South Africa again in 2003 and set up Ma Trading and Marketing to consult and supply equipment to the hospitality industry in the Southern Cape.
As a chef he won awards and represented South Africa in cooking competitions all over the world. He was a founder member of the Academy of Chefs, an exclusive group of chefs who have contributed to the development of the craft in South Africa.
Mark Charlish was the subject of a chef profile in Hotelier & Caterer (as Hotel & Restaurant was then titled) in October 1986 when he was executive chef at the Holiday Inn Eastern Boulevard. He stayed in contact with the magazine over the years providing information and views whenever asked.