Clark Frasier grew up in fresh produce heaven. His family lived in Carmel, California, where vegetables and fruit were available all year round. He remembers picnics in the Napa Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains and fresh fried artichoke stands along the road. But it wasn’t until he went to China to study Chinese that he learned about the seasons and the wonder of produce in its season. During the harsh winters in Beijing, the people dried, salted and pickled cabbage, which became the only vegetable available during three months of the year. “So that by the end of winter, we students were ravenous for vegetables, and would go anywhere and pay anything to get them. I learned from that what the season meant and why food tastes SO GOOD when it is in season. Today, you can have anything anytime, but even now, vegetables and fruits have to be picked before they are ripe and so they ripen on the way from Chile to Maine. It’s not the same.” It was while living in Beijing, China, that Clark developed expertise in the great cuisine of China. Clark learned that Chinese culinary traditions represent a vast treasure of possibilities. When Clark came back from China, he moved to San Francisco where he wound up working his way up to chef tournant in the famous kitchen of Stars Restaurant. It was there he first developed his unique cooking style working “on the culinary edge” with Jeremiah Tower. And it was there that he began to build a repertoire of Asian-influenced combinations. There too, he met Mark Gaier, and the two decided to strike out on their own.
In the spring of 1988, Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier formed partnership that acquired Arrows Restaurant. Utilizing their extensive travel and training, they created a classic country restaurant which continually garnered national and international accolades for its outstanding cuisine, flawless service, beautiful setting and award-winning wine list. In 1992, the chefs began out of necessity, to develop a kitchen garden which grew to almost two acres in size and provided the restaurant with 90% of the menus vegetables each evening. Arrows reputation was lauded by many publications; included being named by Gourmet magazine the 14 th best restaurant in American in 2006 and Bon Appétit also recognized it as one of the ten most romantic restaurants in the country.
Throughout the years, Chefs Frasier and Gaier have extended their culinary talents. MC Perkins Cove opened in 2005 to rave reviews in the Boston Globe, Bon Appétit, and Down East magazine and numerous national and trade publications. And in 2007 the duo partnered with Marriott to create Summer Winter, a true working “farm to table” restaurant in urban Boston.
Together, the culinary team penned “The Arrows Cookbook: Cooking and Gardening from Maine’s Most Beautiful Farmhouse Restaurant,” a collection of the restaurant’s most celebrated and accessible recipes with useful cooking and gardening tips. In spring 2011, the Maine-based duo released their second cookbook, “Maine Classics,” 150 delicious recipes from Down East.
The many honors and accolades Frasier and Gaier have achieved over the years have culminated in being awarded Best Chefs of the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2010. In 2012, Mark and Clark competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters Season 4. In 2014 opened M.C. Spiedo, an Italian rotisserie in the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel inspired by the chefs’ love of the Italian Renaissance.