Chef Mark Paul of Wink - Biography

Austin, TX

March 2012

Chef Mark Paul grew up on a farm in North Carolina, surrounded by a bounty of corn and beans and his parents’ open-minded philosophy about food. That mark has been stamped on Paul’s cuisine at his restaurant, Wink, whose menu is driven almost solely by produce and meat locally sourced by ranchers, farmers, and foragers; one night might have a bit of a Provençal, another night they might be Pan-Asian. Of course, his many years at star restaurants—Le Cirque, Charlie Trotter’s, and even the James Beard Foundation, among them—also helped form the cook Paul became, even if his Wink and BC Tavern have shed some of that white-tablecloth hauteur.

If not for a broken arm—Paul was a competitive gymnast in his teens, and took his first kitchen job while on the mend—Paul might never have worked at a restaurant. But, as he says, he “got hooked” on the “addictive business” and soon attended Peter Kump’s School for the Culinary Arts (now the Institute of Culinary Education). Paul has kept up membership in the JBF and also Slow Foods International, but has remained an even larger part of the Austin food scene, where he is recognized as one of the leading voices for locavores and culinary aficionados both.