Published: 13:00, 29 October 2019
A golf-pro who spent his life touring the world has swapped the fairway for the kitchen and opened a new restaurant overlooking Ramsgate harbour.
Marc-Pierre Campos and his wife Anastasiya, who he met while on tour in Portugal, have opened Marc-Pierre’s Kitchen in West Cliff Arcade.
For the 54-year-old, who is the Swiss girls’ national coach, it’s a world away from his life on the golf course.
But you could say it’s in his blood.
His dad Pierre ran the Flight Deck restaurant in Pegwell Bay and then opened Pierre’s in Cliftonville in 1976, when the town was the wealthier part of Margate.
Determined to see his son follow in his footsteps, the restaurateur and his cheffing business partner Herman taught Marc all he needed to know about catering.
But when, aged just 18, the opportunity came up to tour the world as a golf pro, Marc snapped up the chance and for 35 years spent his life on the course as a PGA Professional, turning his back on the kitchen.
However, returning to Thanet in November 2016, he knew the time had come to fulfil his - and his dad’s - cooking destiny.
“My father was grooming me to take over his restaurant but my life went in a different direction,” he said.
“But then what do you do in the long winter months when Switzerland is snowbound - do you become a skiing instructor or do you open a new restaurant?”
He says cooking runs in the family, with his mum and wife great patissieres, producing the desserts at the restaurant, and his sister running two restaurants in Sandwich.
His dad also helped him create his menu, which he says consists of local produce so fresh that he doesn’t know what will go on the specials menu that day until his fisherman brings in his haul and he speaks to his butcher.
“It’s all really different stuff but good local produce cooked simply,” he said.
“What I was noticing - and what my dad was banging on about - was that all the wonderful classical recipes that were the thing of the 1970s and 1980s were being resigned to the history books.
“We’re bringing them back with a contemporary twist.
“Everything we use is local and fresh - the only two frozen things here are the chips and ice cream, and they come from Solly’s farm in Deal.”
The former Chatham House boy also uses his golfing connection to offer exclusive tipples from the Sporting Wine Club.
“In South Africa I met guys like Louis Oosthuizen, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els, who had all got into the wine business with their own vineyards,” he said. “They were also members of the exclusive Sporting Wine Club, which only ex-professional sports people can join and which I’m a member of so I can order these wines for the restaurant.”
Marc says they have a talented head chef, Dominic Tyrrell, and he runs front of house himself.