With his grandparents emigrating from Italy in the early 1900’s and consequently establishing Picone Fine Food in Dundas Ontario, Mark was inspired to obtain his degree in hotel and food administration from the University of Guelph in 1986.
Mark, whose Italian family of food purveyors gave him an early start in culinary appreciation, trained in a variety of restaurants across Ontario before working abroad in France (Trianon Palace in Versailles, Perraudin in Biarritz, Chez Chamille in Burgundy) and Italy (Antica Dolceria Bonajuto in Modica, Ristorante Tivoli in Cortina, Risorante Arnolfo in Colle di Val d’Elsa) for six years. Upon his return to Canada in 1996, he was invited by John Howard to head up his new venture where Mark became a pioneer of culinary excellence in Niagara and secured his Certified Chef de Cuisine designation in 1999, with many decorations to follow.
In pursuit of life long learning and academic excellence, Mark completed his MBA (2016) with distinction at Niagara University, New York. This has parlayed into business consulting for small and medium sized businesses with a focus on Leadership and Succession Planning, Design/Build concepts, Strategic Initiatives, Change Management and Cross Culture Development.
Picone has been the recipient of many awards and accolades including multiple AAA/CAA 4-Diamond Awards, Fellowship in the Hostelry Institute and DiRoNa recognition. Although a rare distiction outside of Europe, Mark was appointed to the Order of Professional Italian Restaurateurs in 2002 as a result of bringing Italian culinary standards to a new level. Chef has also been featured on various Food Network Programs and accepted an invitation to guest-chef at the James Beard Foundation in New York.
Mark has become known for his uncompromising passion for excellence and his deep respect and commitment to the local Niagara purveyors. Working closely with them, he develops menus based on farm fresh ingredients often highlighting and promoting his purveyors on each of his custom created menus.
Mark’s sense of community and, by extension, the role a business should fulfill, established the Elsie Picone Community Service Award in 2012. This award is presented to a graduating high school student in good standing who has demonstrated, through voluntary contributions, particularly in a leadership capacity, a commitment to making Dundas and surrounding area a better place to live. The Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario recognized Mark with its Business Excellence Award for Arts, Culture and Science in 2013.
Phone: (905) 562 9648