You may remember us reporting back in January about the establishment of an art wall at Attica, envisioned as a means of paying tribute to those chefs who had most influenced the Attica team with a changing series of mural portraits. The second mural has been revealed, and its subject is chef Mark Limacher, who previously ran the much-loved Wellington restaurant Roxburgh Bistro, which was where a young Ben Shewry first learnt the tools of the cooking trade.
“He’s my main mentor,” says Shewry. “He was the first guy to really show me what was up, he had that touch. He had this philosophical way about him, in that he loved being a chef, but was very astute with his business, with a balance between running the restaurant and his family, which is a rare thing to see… He created this amazing atmosphere. He treated everyone decently, accepted everyone no matter who they were.”
Shewry still maintains a friendship with Limacher. “Even to this day, we talk all the time. He was always supportive of Attica, through all the trials.” Attica patrons have Limacher to thank for Shewry’s food philosophy, developed through his mentor’s example. “He takes the bullshit out of food, it’s a very direct style of food, everything in the dish counts.”
Shewry is again keeping quiet about the subject of the next wall portrait, but he does know one thing - he needs a new artist. Lorcan Kan, Attica’s chef de partie who painted the first two portraits has jetted off to Europe. “It was a condition that he had to finish the second piece before being allowed to go!” jokes Shewry.