Mark Gaier grew up in a big family near Dayton, Ohio. His mother, a homemaker, was a wonderful cook who inspired Mark to begin cooking and even baking bread by the time he was fourteen. Later, as a young man working in publishing in Blue Hill, Maine, his favorite work was putting on the dinner parties for the staff and advertisers at the magazine. So he decided to go back to school and study culinary arts under Jean Wallach in Boston. He later worked at the Whistling Oyster in Ogunquit under Michel Allen, chef for Madeleine Kamman at her cooking school in Boston. Many of his basic skills as a chef were developed during this period.
In the mid-eighties, feeling he needed exposure to more innovative cooking, Mark went to San Francisco and joined the staff at Stars Restaurant as chef tournant, under Jeremiah Tower. According to Gaier, this was a fabulous experience “because the staff at Stars was so talented and because Jeremiah is such an accomplished chef.”
In 1988, Gaier joined forces with Clark Frasier to open a country restaurant called Arrows in Ogunquit, Maine. Over the next 25 years, the restaurant and its famous gardens grew in stature and recognition to become one of the countries most unique fine dining destinations. Arrows was chosen as “One of America’s 10 Most Romantic Restaurants” by Bon Appetit and one of America’s Top 50 Restaurants by Gourmet. The accolades culminated in the prestigious James Beard Foundation naming the chef duo as “Best Chefs in the Northeast” in 2010.
Chefs Gaier and Fraiser began to write about Arrows, offering gardening and cooking tips and describing how they developed the two acres of produce, flowers and herbs out of necessity when they couldn’t find the kind of freshness they were accustomed to in California. The Maine-based duo penned “The Arrows Cookbook; Cooking and Gardening from Maine’s Most Beautiful Farmhouse Restaurant,” (2003), followed by their second cookbook in spring 2011, “Maine Classics,” 150 delicious recipes from Down East. Their inimitable style of seasonal cooking and farm fresh recipes have been featured in the nation’s leading magazines including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Time, Travel + Leisure and Vanity Fair and they have made frequent appearances on local and national television programs including the CBS Early Show and NBC’s TODAY show.
In 2005, Mark and Clark opened MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine, a sleek and more casual restaurant dedicated to classic New England fare with stunning ocean views. And in 2007 the duo partnered with Marriott to create Summer Winter, a true working “farm to table” restaurant in urban Boston. In 2012, Mark and Clark competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters Season 4. In 2014, the chefs opened M.C. Spiedo, an Italian rotisserie inside the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel inspired by the chefs’ love of the Italian Renaissance, discovered during their personal travels. The menu reflects their passion for the old world flavors from Florence, Bologna and Venice, as well as their focus on farm-fresh ingredients and contemporary cooking techniques.