A dynamic duo who played a major role in putting Sheffield on the foodie map has put down its knife and fork.
After seven years in the restaurant game, one half of the partnership that turned a derelict Kelham island pub into the award-winning Milestone, then added their gastronomic gusto to Campo Lane’s Wig and Pen, is leaving for pastures-new.
“But the pubs will continue under my old partner Matt Bingham. Customers won’t even notice I’m gone,” says Marc Sheldon modestly.
Both venues, renowned for their inventive take on British cuisine and their determined sourcing of quality local ingredients - an ethos which turned them into pig-keepers for a time - are both in profit and running smoothly, assures Marc.
Even the bro-mance between him and Matt will continue; “There has been no fall-out. We are best friends. Matt is like a brother and has supported me in my decision,” adds Marc, who has been bought out by Matt for an undisclosed sum.
The pair met when Sheffield Hallam student Marc took a job under Matt’s management at Sheffield’s All Bar One. “We discovered we had the same mindset and the same standards for quality and service. It was that which led to us going into business together, and that is still a common bond which may bring us back together in the future, who knows.”
He is aware that city restaurateurs may be questioning his sanity: “Some will say I’m foolish for walking away from a successful business, especially at a time when many hospitality establishments are struggling. But they said it was foolish when Matt and pooled the only money we had and maxed out our credit cards to open the Milestone in 2007,” he says.
Any critics were proved wrong when the pub shot to national stardom three years later. It was crowned celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s best British restaurant after being picked from more than 12,000 restaurants who applied to compete in the Channel 4 series.
After the win, diners flocked from all over the country; some even came from Europe. The pub also picked up a host of other accolades, including two from the Eat Sheffield Awards.
Marc claims he is leaving “because you only live once. I’m 31 and I want a new challenge. I don’t want the Milestone to be my defining moment.”
He extends his thanks to the customers, staff and suppliers who have supported the partnership and reveals he won’t be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. He states; “My next venture won’t in the restaurant industry.”