Interview with Chef Mark Ferguson from Spago, Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Colorado

Posted on Oct 04, 2010 under Archives, Chefs, Interviews | No Comment
Chef Mark Ferguson

Chef Mark Ferguson

Mark Ferguson’s passion for the epicurean began as a child while cooking in his mother’s kitchen in Denver, and he used his culinary skills to support himself through Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo.

After graduating with a degree in business, Ferguson moved to San Francisco in 1989 where he worked as a sous chef for the Gilbert-Robinson Company at Houlihan’s Restaurant.  He later joined master chef Jeremiah Tower at his renowned restaurant, Stars.  While at Stars, Ferguson furthered his cooking skill set by training at the California Culinary Academy and  met Chef David Robins.

It was Robins, also a chef at Stars, who asked Ferguson to join him in launching Chef Wolfgang Puck’s famed Spago in Las Vegas, whose opening sparked the city’s dining revolution which persists today.  Ferguson joined the Spago Las Vegas opening team as Chef de Cuisine.

During his eight years at Spago, Ferguson greatly enhanced his education and knowledge, cooking alongside some of the greatest names in the culinary profession, such as Paul Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, Nobu Matsuhisa, Thomas Keller and Alain Ducasse.  Together with these world-renowned chefs, he participated in numerous charitable dinners and events including Wolfgang’s American Wine and Food Festival, Keep Memory Alive and Andre Agassi’s Grand Slam for Children.  In addition, Ferguson prepared private dinners for high-profile public figures, such as President William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

When Chef Wolfgang Puck embarked on his first Italian restaurant concept, Trattoria del Lupo, he called upon Ferguson to spearhead the endeavor.  In preparation for his new role as Executive Chef and Partner, Ferguson traveled Italy extensively, cooking and tasting throughout different regions of the country to develop the restaurant’s innovative Italian menu.

During his eight years at Lupo, Ferguson received the 2002 Las Vegas Life Epicurean Award for Best Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas, and in 2003 he was honored by In Business Las Vegas magazine as one of the top forty rising stars in the city.

Nearly twenty years after leaving, Ferguson returned home to Colorado, where his culinary passion was born.  In 2007 as Executive Chef, Ferguson opened Spago, the flagship of Wolfgang Puck fine dining group at InterThe Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch on Beaver Creek Mountain. The menu features a fusion of sustainable, all-natural and organic ingredients.

While attending the American Wine and Food Festival, I had the opportunity to sit down with Chef Ferguson and chat about his background and cooking philosophy.

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