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

by Antoinette Bruno
December 2014

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.