Former Wellington restaurateur Marc Weir may have stepped away from the hospitality business but there’s no keeping him out of the kitchen.


One minute he was immersed in the restaurant he describes as his heart and soul; the next he was leaving Wellington for the Wairarapa. And he’s barely been back – let alone looked back – since. Talk about out of the blue. Making the break from restaurateur to retiree of sorts was a swift switch for Marc Weir, and one that even he didn’t see coming.

Anyone who has been to the capital or its surrounds will recognise him and his pedigree: the Brooklyn Café and Grill, Floriditas and Loretta. There’s Clark’s in Palmerston North to add to the list, too. But now he’s swapped all that for Briarwood, a former boutique hotel in Greytown, where he is very happily settled with husband Ash Brocklebank.

“I thought I had another five years at the restaurant [Loretta], but then I sold it,” says Marc of the rapid change that happened last year. “Nothing was planned; it all happened so organically. I was scrolling through Instagram and found an ad for Briarwood. It had just been listed, and 10 days later, it was ours,” he says with a sense of incredulity. Six months later, he got an unsolicited offer for Loretta.

Goodbye then to the hours, the lockdowns, the relentless demands of restaurant life and the thrum of Cuba Street. Hello instead to the rhythms of a semi-rural life where Marc’s hospo duties are confined to prepping the one-bedroom apartment that he and Ash rent out at Briarwood. The rest of the property is theirs to enjoy, and guest catering is off the menu for Marc. And living on the other side of the Remutakas has given him back his creativity, he adds.

This is the guy who always knew he wanted to be a chef, but at the same time toyed with the idea of being a teacher. Back in his teens he took the teacher training route, but did not complete his studies. Instead he kicked off his kitchen life at the Brooklyn Café and Grill, under the tutelage and nurturing supervision of restaurant doyenne Lois Daish.

“She truly influenced my food style and my life – and my future career,” says Marc of Lois. (She also name-checks him in interviews.) It was under Lois’ endlessly patient attention that he graduated from waiting tables, to training as a baker and then on to cooking.

The Daish schooling has been reflected in his decades of restaurant and café dishes, as well as the recipes he has conjured up for Cuisine. They’re all based on what he calls “simple, delicious and well-executed” principles, the three fundamentals of his cooking. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy.

“Sometimes simple is the hardest thing to do, because you can’t hide anything,” he says. Not that you would want to hide anything at all in his three-herb farrotto creation; rather you will want to trumpet it from the rooftops.

Marc has a wholesome respect for the ingredients he uses, only choosing the freshest and the best. In the Wairarapa, this has seen a slight game change. When he can’t enjoy immediate access to farmers’ markets and just-plucked produce, he switches to more spice-based dishes.

Today Marc has ensured everything is just so before the next guests arrive, before deciding what to cook tonight. He might have left the restaurant, but you can’t keep him out of the kitchen. “I really do enjoy living here. I’ve only been back to Wellington twice since we settled here.” GERALDINE JOHNS