Rising Star Chef James Mark of north - Biography

Providence, RI

August 2014

James Mark doesn’t consider himself a singular chef. More accurately, and more compellingly, he’s part of a collective, a group of cooks who are making great culinary and community strides in Providence, Rhode Island, with restaurant north. It all began fairly unceremoniously at a mall in New Jersey, where a teenage Mark took a job on the line at McCormick & Schmick’s. But there was passion there, which Mark pursued with official training at Johnson & Wales, not to mention two more McCormick postings. But it was working a co-op at far off Maes-y-Neuadd Country House Hotel & Restaurant in Wales that proved pivotal to Mark and his professional philosophy. That’s where he picked his first vegetables and first felt the call of truly honest food.

Newly inspired, and back in the States, Mark pursued a variety of triumphs and defeats: baking at Maxie’s, cementing his culinary philosophy within the Momofuku empire, taking a definitive culinary trip to Asia, and even (briefly) abandoning the industry for a vagabond life. But fate and nagging talent brought Mark back to Providence, where he first worked as a late night chef, transitioning into whole animal butchery. His path reestablished, Mark joined with fellow Johnson & Wales alums Tim Shulga and John Toon Chester to lay the foundations for north—and now an offshoot bakery—where the trio showcases skillfully creative Asian-influenced cuisine, and Mark earned a 2014 StarChefs.com Rising Star Community Award.