Mark Evelyn is the man behind the hotplate at one of Port Macquarie’s most loved Restaurants, Tommy’s by the Beach. Famous for their seafood, a visit to Tommy’s is a must when in Port Macquarie.
>What brought you to Port Macquarie?
I have always lived in the area, spending most of my younger years in North Haven. I travelled around a bit and settled in Port Macquarie about 20 years ago.
> How did you begin your career?
I have always liked cooking and I suppose it was just being in the right time at the right place that got me started. I started chefing at Downunder Night Club, followed by a stint at Country Comfort.
> How did you become business partners with Tommy?
When we had the restaurant in William Street, we started Jam ad Tea shows – that’s where we became friends. Then Tommy moved back to Cowra and I took over the restaurant. The opportunity arose to buy our current venue at Flynns, so I spoke to Tommy … and the rest is history.
> Tommy’s by the Beach is a fantastic restaurant. What is it like to work there?
Tommy’s by the Beach is a great place to work at for a few reasons: the variety of what we do, i.e. à la carte, functions, show nights, catering etc … you never get bored. Being able to perform in our shows and create a fantastic fun night out, as well … we enjoy it as much as the audience.
> What motivates you?
I think what motivates me the most would probably be the constant compliments and gratitude that we receive about our food, the restaurant, the service, the shows and generally the wonderful night the customers have.
> Who inspires you in the kitchen?
My inspiration would be Neil Perry, Gordon Ramsay and Teage Ezard. I just like their cooking styles, attitudes and passion.
> Describe your style of cooking, to tempt our readers.
I like simple, fresh flavours with Asian influences. Plus, I really like cooking with seafood – it is so versatile.
I have a great passion for consistency and freshness as well.
> What is your favourite dish to prepare at home and at work?
Everyone that knows me knows I just love bangers & mash. If I went out dining, that’s just what I would order if it was on the menu.
Although, my favorite dish to work with, prepare and present to customers would probably have to be the Seafood Platter and Lobster Mornay. They are very eye catching.
> What has been the highlight of being at Tommy’s By The Beach?
The one major highlight that stands out above all was winning the Restaurant and Caterers National Entertainment Restaurant of the Year 2005. This actually blew me away, as we were up against some of the best restaurants in Australia.
> Thank you for your time Mark.