The talent behind the award-winning success of Pesce is none other than Chef Mark Holley. Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Mark was inspired to pursue a career in the culinary arts after experiencing the joy of helping Mom in the kitchen as she prepared recipes that had been passed down from generation to generation. His formal schooling began at Garfield Training Center in Ohio where he began as an apprentice at Odyssey Restaurant. As he gained experience, Mark developed a passion to explore and broaden his knowledge of classic French cuisine. His skills led him to Texas and the enviable position of working under some of the country's best chefs as Saucier in two of Houston's finest hotels - the Meridian Hotel and the Four Seasons Inn on the Park.
Mark's quest to continually broaden his culinary range and skills led him to an apprenticeship with the renown Brennan's family at their Houston restaurant. At Brennan's, Mark learned the flavorful essence of a Creole kitchen under Chef Carl Walker. With an eye for talent, Chef Walker quickly assessed Mark as a rising star and furthered his career by sending him to work under Jamie Shannon as the Garde Manger and Sous Chef of the internationally recognized Commander's Palace in New Orleans. After three years, Mark returned to Houston as Chef Walker's Chef de Cuisine, contributing to many of the accolades Brennan's received. During his tenure, Brennan's became a member of the distinguished restaurants in North America and Mark, along with Chef Walker, participated in the creation of a special dinner at the James Beard House in New York.
On the merits of his formidable skills and reputation, Chef Holley was invited to open a new upscale seafood restaurant, Pesce, as Executive Chef. Under his culinary direction, Pesce has established itself as a leading restaurant in Houston, garnering media attention and recognition as well as several awards. In 2000, Pesce received the Best New Restaurant Award and most recently, Chef Holley received the Best Chef of the Year award for 2003.
Best Chef 2001 - Inside Houston
Best Chef 2002 - Inside Houston
Best Chef of 2003 - My Table Magazine