2014 Washington, D.C. Area Rising Star Chef George Marsh of Parts & Labor

2014 Washington, D.C. Area Rising Star Chef George Marsh of Parts & Labor
December 2014

Parts & Labor
2600 North Howard Street Suite 1100
Baltimore, MD 21218



An accidental butcher, George Marsh took a circuitous route to the restaurant industry, dabbling first in fine arts and industrial design before discovering his affinity for life in the kitchen.

He took on his most formative position, one that change the course of his chef-career, when he accepted a job as a line cook at Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen in 2009, and was quickly promoted to chef de cuisine. The focus on butchery came after a conversation with the Chef Spike Gjerde, who encouraged Marsh to find a use for meadow calves. It was then that Marsh began to understand the importance of whole animal butchery—not just as a method of minimizing waste, but as a vital support system for the grower community.

As the restaurant’s demand grew, Marsh began butchering full-time, breaking down whole cows, lamb, pigs, and goats. He also set up the restaurant’s elaborate curing, smoking, and aging program, while furthering his expertise in seam butchering by studying with Master Butcher Dominique Chapolard and Christoph Wiesner, president of the Austrian Mangalitsa Breeders’ Association.

Today, Marsh is the executive chef and head butcher—directing a team of five—at Parts & Labor, a full-service butcher shop and restaurant, which streamlines the butchering process for all of Gjerde’s restaurants: Shoo-Fly, Artifact Coffee, and Woodberry Kitchen. Parts & Labor specializes in open stone-hearth cooking and is connecting the Baltimore food community with farmers practicing responsible rearing methods.

I Support: Moveable Feast


Interview with Washington, D.C. Rising Star Chef George Marsh of Parts & Labor

Antoinette Bruno: Why did you start cooking professionally?
George Marsh:
I started cooking to support my skateboarding habits. I needed money for boards and skateboards and my mom didn't want to buy my decks anymore, so I got a job.

AB: Who do you consider your mentor?
Spike Gjerde. He taught me the importance of working within the local food system. I learned about products, processes, and sourcing. I learned the reason why we do it, where the products come from, and how they’re raised. 

AB: How are you involved in the local culinary community?
We really try and focus on the growers as our culinary community. We form relationships with them, and work with them hand in hand to serve our community. 

AB: What was the hardest thing you’ve had to do in your career?
Swallow my pride on my first night in a real kitchen. 

AB: What are you most proud of?
Our approach. The way that we look at food and the way that we look at the relationship between our growers and our customers. 

AB: What's your five year plan?
Here. I hope this business will continue to grow. I hope I'll learn a lot more and  that we can expand on what we do now. 

AB: What is your sustainability ethos?
Using the word sustainability doesn't really mean anything, because we have no idea what's going to happen in the next 100 years, so things that we say are sustainable now, might not be then or they may not help. Do we compost or recycle? Are they watching their glucose or their soil runoff and outputs. I don't think anybody can say they’re working in a sustainable manner. 

AB: Describe your cuisine in one sentence.
Locally grown, traditional Chesapeake hearth cooking.