Marcus Wareing's Tales From A Kitchen Garden on BBC2 will get your green fingers itching for action this spring. When Marcus Wareing bought a fledgling kitchen garden four years ago, he had no idea how it would change his life. The Michelin-star restaurant owner, cookbook writer and MasterChef: The Professionals judge was as in-demand as ever, and thought the 65-acre smallholding in East Sussex would simply be a place to potter and switch off in rare moments of downtime. Instead, the land has inspired him to embrace the dream of living, growing and cooking in the English countryside, and his venture into the world of farming is at the heart of a new BBC2 series, Marcus Wareing’s Tales From A Kitchen Garden.
Here, Marcus, 51, who lives in London with his wife, Jane, and their three children, tells us more about his new series , plus everything else you need to know about season 1...
'Marcus Wareing's Tales From A Kitchen Garden' release date
Marcus Wareing's Tales From A Kitchen Garden series 1 starts on BBC2 on Monday Feb. 28 2022 at 6.30pm, and runs weekdays until Friday March 4. Episodes will also become available on BBCiPlayer. We'll update if there's a US or international air date.
Interview with Marcus on 'Marcus Wareing's Tales From A Kitchen Garden'
Is it true you’ve never tried farming or growing veg before?
Marcus says: "Never. I’m from a farming background in that my dad was a fruit and potato merchant, but he used to buy and sell produce, not grow it himself. I left home in Southport at 18, went straight into kitchens and have been there ever since. I’ve always had a garden where I live, but only planted things to make it look nice, not eat!"
What made you decide to devote more time to your kitchen garden?
Marcus says: "COVID-19. I think I join a long list of people who say the pandemic gave a chance to reflect on the past and see an opportunity to change my life and lifestyle. Being outdoors is so important for mental health. You’ll see it in my face, when I cook in my garden in the series – even making a simple salad with tomatoes and basil that I’ve grown – I’m happy. I normally have a serious face when I cook!
But this isn’t about you quitting your regular day jobs, is it?
Marcus says: "No! I have my restaurant and I’m about to start filming another series of MasterChef: The Professionals, and I love those aspects of my life, but they revolve around London. My kitchen garden has shown me there’s another life at the end of the tunnel – a slower one that doesn’t involve 18-hour shifts, six days a week – for the days when I don’t run restaurants. Growing takes time so I want to get it ready for the future.
How do you start?
Marcus says: "By growing vegetables and keeping animals. In the series, I travel around the country meeting the best farmers, gardeners and producers in the UK, who give me amazing guidance on what to do. I go to North Yorkshire for Mangalitza pigs, Leicestershire for chickens, Devon for ducks, Gloucestershire for herbs and Kent for heritage apples.
What would we find on your smallholding at the moment?
Marcus says: Two Longhorn cows, two Lonk sheep, three Pekin ducks – which have since been eaten by foxes and had to be replaced – two Fosse chickens, laying chickens, ducks, apples trees, wild flowers – it’s a whole new world down there!
You seem fond of the Mangalitza pigs you buy in the first episode…
Marcus says: "They’re a bit special – pig royalty. I actually hang out with them now. We spent a day-and-a-half together recently; I cleared the woodland and chopped trees while they ate the brambles. I had a campfire, a couple of beers, and I even started talking to them!
What should we look out for later in the series?
Marcus says: "In the second episode I visit the kitchen garden at my old stomping ground, Gravetye Manor in Sussex, which I’m embarrassed to say I never visited when I worked there. Sorry Raymond Blanc, but this kitchen garden beats yours! The succession planting – where you stagger sowing seeds – is genius. Chefs just get produce delivered to the kitchen door – now I’m seeing where food starts its journey, and how and why it tastes the way it does. It’ll definitely make me a better cook."
Food aside, there’s another star of the series: Your cocker spaniel, Esme!
Marcus says : "She followed me everywhere during filming. I’m sure she knew when the camera crew were around and got her hair done!"
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I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.