Blanket Bay Executive Chef Named

Jan 2, 2009

Media Release from Blanket Bay Lodge

17 November 2008




Multi-award winning chef Mark Sycamore will assume responsibility for all culinary operations at Blanket Bay, New Zealand’s leading luxury resort near Queenstown from 1 December.


The 29-year-old has been named Executive Chef after four years working alongside previous Blanket Bay chef, Jason Dell.  General Manager Philip Jenkins says the promotion process was a natural succession and that Mr Sycamore was the obvious choice for the position. 


“Mark is an exceptional chef in his own right and has proven his culinary ability and leadership skills time and time again. We feel very fortunate he’s agreed to lead our team because Blanket Bay’s kitchen performance is crucial to our reputation as one of the world’s finest luxury lodges.”


Mr Sycamore accepted his promotion on his recent return from a Restaurant Association of New Zealand-funded trip to the American Culinary School in New York.   


“I’m absolutely delighted and feel privileged to be asked to step into Jason’s shoes.  He’s been a great mentor, both as a chef and people manager.  I’ll be keeping to our Blanket Bay kitchen philosophies of producing the finest quality food while providing a positive working environment that develops and encourages the skills of our culinary team.” 


Mr Sycamore brings more than 14 years of culinary experience to his new role and a string of award wins. 


Two months ago he won the New Zealand final of the WACS (World Association Chefs Society) Global Chefs Challenge 2010 which will take him to Sydney next year to represent New Zealand in the Asia Pacific finals.  The winner will go on to compete against the winners of the other six continents for the title of world’s best chef.


Other 2008 accolades include winning the Southern Lights Open Chef of the Region for the third time in three attempts, and coaching the Central Otago Polytechnic team to double gold at the Nestlé Toque d’Or, New Zealand’s most prestigious student culinary and restaurant service competition. 


Mr Sycamore immigrated to New Zealand from England 10 years ago after completing his catering qualifications.


“My first job cooking in a traditional English pub was an excellent learning experience.  I was studying at the time so was able to experiment with techniques I was learning but also had to develop the skills to cope with producing lots of meals from scratch in a very tight timeframe.  It was baptism by fire!”


Once in New Zealand, Mr Sycamore worked in Christchurch for six years including stints at Espresso 124 and Clearwater Resort but fell in love with the Central Otago food, wine and lifestyle.  He moved to Queenstown to work at Blanket Bay in 2004 where he has been encouraged to develop not only his own career but also the careers of the entire culinary team. 


Photo caption:  Mark Sycamore


About Blanket Bay

Established in 1999, Blanket Bay is an expansive lakeside property on a 65,000 high country farm, combining the sophistication of the world's finest alpine lodges and the unique characteristics of New Zealand.  The intimate resort consists of 12 rooms including spacious suites, intimate lodge rooms and elegant chalets.  A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, accommodations offer travellers vast sitting rooms, king-sized beds, stone fireplaces, secluded balconies and spectacular views