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Tuesday 1 March 2022

New chef for Hunter Valley icon

For at least two decades Bimbadgen Estate’s flagship restaurant Esca has been one of the most reliable vineyard dining destinations in the Hunter Valley. 

Great setting; impressive wines, reliably good food. 

New executive chef Mark Marshall - who has most recently been based on the NSW South Coast - aims to both continue a tradition and add innovation. 

“While it has been tough for everyone in Hunter hospitality through recent down-times, we’ve used the time positively and productively to reinvigorate our offerings," says Bimbadgen Estate general manager Belinda Stapleton. 

“Bimbadgen is back better than ever and as our flagship restaurant, Esca is leading the way. We are thrilled with the fresh ideas and energy that Mark has brought to Esca, and we’d love to share them with returning and new guests, looking to taste the best the Hunter Valley has to offer.”

Marshall describes his food as “simple, uncompromised and flavour driven”. 

There will, of course, be an emphasis on local, sustainable ingredients and the producers behind them.

Marshall's VC includes stints at Hayman Island, Silky Oaks Lodge and Longitude 131. 

Originally from Melbourne, he started his career at The Hilton on the Park before moving to London, where he had stints at The Ledbury and Gordon Ramsay's Savoy Grill. 

“I have a passion for using great fresh produce to create innovative menus that excite the palate; all beautifully balanced with fine Bimbadgen wine," he said. "There is no better place to enjoy the best Australian food and wine together than in the heart of the Hunter Valley, which has a worldwide reputation for both. 

“It’s time to break out and enjoy life again and we will do our very best to make it a great experience.”

Esca’s signature five-course menu includes  gin-cured salmon with native lime, cucumber and horseradish with 2020 Bimbadgen Palmers Lane Semillon; and Riverina Angus sirloin with blackened corn and miso butter matched with 2019 Bimbadgen McDonalds Road Shiraz. 

In addition to Esca, Marshall is responsible for all Bimbadgen food and beverage outlets, including the wedding and event venue on Palmers Lane, the Woodfired Pizzeria and cellar door, and Emma’s Cottage.

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