Interview with Chef Marcus Repp, of Northern Virginia’s Landsdowne Resort and Spa
Lansdowne Resort and Spa is a luxurious and elegant retreat just outside of Washington, D.C. in Leesburg, Virginia. Overseeing the resort’s six restaurants and in-room dining is executive chef Marcus Repp. I attended a cooking class he taught for some guests at the hotel recently. He was very lively and spoke in a conversational manner, as though he knew everyone there. He made the dish he was preparing seem easy, and it was delicious. He talked about farm-to-table as though it was a fact of a chef's life. “It’s always farm-to-table,” he said. He wants to have a garden on the property so he can grow his own vegetables, and he spoke fondly about “the integrity of ingredients.”
The Daily Meal: How did you get into cooking?
Chef Marcus Repp: I was always intrigued by cooking and the kitchen. Growing up in Germany with a grandmother as a chef, I would spend many summers in her restaurant kitchen learning about the trade from a very early age. My father was a butcher and most of the cooking was done by him at home; I still remember the way he used to cut and make a paste out of garlic that was used as an enhancement for the BBQ meat at many cookouts.
Do you have a specialty dish?
I have been traveling in so many different parts of the world it’s hard to just pinpoint one special dish that I cook. I still love cooking German since this is where I grew up, so I think I make a pretty decent sauerbraten.
Do you prefer a particular style of cooking?
When I started my career we were taught in the French cooking style. Over the years I always loved Italian because of the simplicity of the dish and the importance of good ingredients.
What kind of atmosphere do you create in the kitchen?
I spend so many hours in the kitchen and I like to be surrounded by positive people that feel the same passion for our craft. Kitchens are always regimented, we need organization and team work, and we also need to have fun.
What do you look for when you hire other chefs to assist you in the kitchen?
They have to love what they are doing and be excited about the ingredients, organized, and hard workers. We need diversity, people that serve from the heart, find their fun, and deliver greatness.
What do you plan for your future?
I like Lansdowne and Northern Virginia; the Loudoun County area is a fun and exciting place for a chef with so many high quality farmers and producers as well as the incredible wines that are produced here. I can see myself here for many years and Lansdowne is a great place to work. We are exploring the idea of farming at the resort and I foresee that becoming one of my many passions.