CHEF MARK BELLINI
This month’s Faculty Spotlight is on Chef Mark Bellini who has been active in the food industry for over 30 years.
While in high school, Mark was inspired by a TV chef named Graham Kerr, “The Galloping Gourmet”. Kerr infused his demos with lots of humor…and plenty of on-air drinking and made cooking look like fun. After the show, Mark would go into the kitchen and try to re-create Kerr’s dishes. That’s when his mom recognized his interest in cooking and encouraged him to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America.
After graduation, Mark held several restaurant positions but wasn’t happy. He found the work boring and made a detour to study communications. While in school and needing money for tuition, he got a job at a local catering company where he found his true calling. The intricate prep work, ever changing menus and more relaxed atmosphere of catering suited him to a tee.
After a couple of more career detours, he finally settled into catering full time. Mark held sous chef positions with Frog/Commissary catering and the Sheraton corporation and was the head chef for Queen of Hearts Catering on the Main Line for 10 years. Mark also helped re-open the historic Collegeville Inn as Executive Chef.
Eventually, he realized he was never home and missed his family, so Mark switched gears to become a Chef Instructor at The Restaurant School in West Philly where he remained for 14 years. Now, he’s at Star Career Academy and delighted to be working with Chef Francesco Martorella.
He finds that teaching lets him express his passion for food to legions of future cooks and chefs. As Mark says: ” I truly enjoy teaching a student a new technique or expanding their palate with an ingredient that they’ve never tasted before. I love that look in their eyes when the light bulb goes on and they suddenly get it.”
Recently, Mark has been toying with the idea of wood-fired rotisseries…but that’s a story for another Spotlight.