Mark Millwood developed a sophisticated palate at a very early age; having lived in Japan, Australia, California and Mississippi, all before the age of 10. Mark’s father was a Naval Officer, which meant learning and experiencing a large array of culinary delights. His passion for cooking started with a love for his mother’s southern fare and grew with each new travel adventure. His first restaurant job at 13 years old was washing dishes at a small diner in Hanford, CA. Intrigued by what was happening in the kitchen, he asked if he could start working on the line. By the time he finished high school, he had worked his way to lead line cook.
In 1990, he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the U.S. Navy. He cooked his way through Desert Storm & Operation Desert Shield. Being in the Navy taught him creativity by turning a kitchen full of tidbits into a gourmet feast fit for Naval Officers. One of the most important things he gained from the military was how to lead a crew. Mark has the innate ability to inspire the “Best” from his peers and employees.
He completed his service with the U.S. Navy. After this, Mark headed to Boston in 1994 to work at “Barrett’s on Boston Harbor.” He fine-tuned his skills with fresh seafood, New England style cooking, traditional Portuguese, and classic Italian cuisine. “Working in Boston gave meaning to the true style of cooking for all cultures.”
From Boston, Chef Mark spent several years in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts before finally returning to his first love “Mississippi.” Upon his return to the Gulf of Mississippi he began working as a Chef in several casinos, including the “Grand Casino Resort & Spa” and the “Beau Rivage Resort & Spa.” “This is where I regained my love for Southern Cooking…” During his stint in the south, he was regularly solicited for live cooking demonstrations on local television stations. Mark’s vivacious and charming demeanor makes him a celebrity presence both on television and at the restaurant.
Having spent the better part of a decade in Mississippi. He decided to take his talents to Vail, Colorado and try his hand at working with some of the “Best” Chefs in the business to hone his culinary skills. Mark’s hard work and ambition payed off. He was voted as one of Vail, Colorado’s top Chef’s in 2010. Under his direction, the Vail Marriott’s dining experience rose to new height, focusing on fresh, healthy cuisine with influences from the South, Asia & California.
Mark’s journey has lead him back to his home state of California. Here, he previously lead the banquet kitchen at the Ritz Carlton/JW Marriott in the LA Live arena. He has created menus for high ranking officials from China, Mexico, and the United States. He regularly performed major functions such as the MTV awards, Grammy’s, Emmy’s, NFL, NBA, X Games, and Pac 12 Collegiate Basketball Tournaments.
Since leaving the Ritz Carlton/ JW Marriott in LA Live arena, Mark has planted his roots in sunny Oceanside, California. He continues his love of cooking, spend time with family & friends, and rekindle his passion for surfing . It is here that Chef Mark will pursue his dream of cooking the best Southern BBQ Southern California has every tasted!