Mark studied in Paris at the Ecole du Cuisine La Varenne where he earned a Grande Diplôme d'Etude Culinaire and studied at Steven Spurrier’s l'Academie du Vin. After stagieres at Michelin one-star Michel Pasquet, three-star Taillevent, and Willy’s Wine Bar in Paris, Mark followed his earliest dream (to open a wine bar) by working as Sous Chef at Vintage Wine Bar and Restaurant in Cambridge MA.
At 23, Mark moved to Arizona and The Boulders Resort in Carefree, where he was the youngest Food & Beverage Director of any Five Diamond property in the world. In the last six years of his time there the resort was #1 in the world. In 1994 Mark opened Tarbell’s Restaurant, followed by Barmouche in 1999 and The Oven (in Colorado) in 2004. He opened The Wine Store in 2013, and The Tavern in 2014. He has been recognized with multiple awards including a two-time induction to The Arizona Hall of Culinary Fame (as Chef and as Media Master) and being nominated for “Best Chef – Southwest” by the James Beard Foundation. He and his restaurants have earned more than 50 “Best Of” city and industry awards, including a “Best Restaurant” from Food and Wine magazine.
Mark's frequent television and radio time includes being the only winning challenger on the 5th season of Iron Chef America on The Food Network and features on Foodography (2012) and Chuck Eats the Street (2014), both on The Cooking Channel. He has been the weekly wine columnist for the Arizona Republic since 2004. He has been a judge at the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits competition (the largest and oldest in the country) for 25 years. He has been published in numerous local and national magazines including Wine & Spirits, Food Arts, and Desert Living. He is currently finishing his own book of cooking memories.
He serves on many different Advisory Councils and Boards, from the Arizona Department of Education to the Phoenix Art Museum and Phoenix Theater. He contributes to and has cooked for hundreds of charities through the years. He has lent his services as a chef and wine connoisseur to raise millions of dollars at events such as the International Taste of Tennis, Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, CASA, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Hospice of the Valley, C-CAP, Humane USA for the Humane Society, and dozens more.