A well respected foodie who has catered for some of Formula One’s biggest racing stars is embarking on his own culinary quest.
Mark Patonyi, from Tata, Hungary, has opened his own restaurant in one of Edinburgh’s most desirable dining destinations.
Pier Brasserie boasts views of the famous Forth Bridges as well as the iconic Newhaven Lighthouse and will utilise fresh, local produce sourced from the local community.
It is a venture the father-of-one has been pursuing since he arrived to Scotland 13-years-ago, and feels there is no better place to make his dream become a reality than in the North of the city.
“I moved to Scotland as I wanted a new challenge, to be part of a new culture and to try myself in a different country. I have always worked in hospitality, and Edinburgh is the Mecca of hospitality.
“North Edinburgh is a location which is close to my heart, I spend a lot of my time in the area, it is very vibrant, versatile and the local community has been so welcoming to me.
“It has everything, if you are looking for a simple pub it has it, or if you are looking for a high-end restaurant or cocktail bar, it has it. The area offers so much.
“I want to implement something different and to offer something that not many places do. A place which is relaxed and inviting for everyone but produces high-end quality food.
“The view speaks for itself, I think it is unique and the best in Edinburgh, and the restaurant itself has got a lot of potential. It ticks all of the boxes, it is very airy, and very bright and with quality food served by professionals I think it will appeal to many customers.
“I hope it’s going to attract a lot of locals. We are hoping to offer everything from families with young children to light meals, big meals, if you are on a budget or want something more luxurious. We want to be able to offer it all.”
“I want locals to enjoy this restaurant and make them feel comfortable, and provide them with the same hospitality they have treated me and my family with over the years.”
Mark, 36, finished hospitality school in 2002. He worked in various five star hotels before being part of the F1 Grand Prix Paddock catering team in destinations all around the world.
Here he catered for VIP’s who enjoyed a luxury Formula One experience at races in Italy, China, Germany and Hungary.
Mark said it was an ‘incredible experience’. He said:
“Guests arrived early for breakfast and champagne, then visit the box and possibly meet the drivers.
“Then the guests had lunch with more champagne and wines, then practice, qualification or the race, a three day extravaganza.
“It was long hours, but incredible. I travelled with them to Italy, China, Germany & Hungary.
“It was a once in lifetime experience working there both for professional and personal reasons.
“Meeting the likes of Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen and my favourite ever, Michael Schumacher and to have the opportunity to serve them was unreal.”
Mark moved to Scotland in 2007 and revealed the biggest challenge he first faced was the language barrier.
“I wanted a new challenge, to be part of a new culture and to try myself in a different country. I have always worked in hospitality, and Edinburgh is the Mecca of hospitality.
“The language was a barrier to start with, I had zero English so it was very difficult truth be told so that was the biggest challenge to begin with. I have always found it easy to make friends and they helped me get the jobs I wanted and improved my English.”
Mark came to work for famed chef Martin Wishart at various restaurants where he started off as a waiter rose from the position of waiter to the restaurant manager over his seven year stint.
The entrepreneur believes he owes a lot of his success to Wishart who allowed him to flourish under his stewardship.
“It was incredible, it was very hard work but incredible. I learned pretty much everything the industry needs under him.
“I studied, and I worked really hard. It was about being precise and having consistency and discipline in your work, and he has been very good to me and given me lots of opportunities over the seven years I worked for him.”
Mark then went on to enjoy success at the award winning STEAK restaurant for four years as general manager before deciding to open his own establishment – Pier Brasserie.
He has put an emphasis on involving the local community and highlight the best produce the area has to offer.
“I think it is very important to use local and Scottish produce because – especially when it comes to seafood, the Scottish scene is just really hard to beat and not just nationally but internationally as well. The quality, the size, and the flavours… it’s a no brainer.
“We have a professional fishmongers, one of the best in the business, on our doorstep so it ticks all the boxes.
Pier Brasserie will host in excess of 70 covers and has a separate bar area with the design focused around natural tones and exposed materials, creating a warm shelter from which to admire the expansive Forth.
In the summer, it will be able to utilise the outside decking, creating a cosmopolitan experience for diners and drinkers.
A private dining area will also enable Pier Brasserie to take larger bookings for special occasions and corporate dinners.