Nice to Meat Ya: Mark Morgan
Chef Mark Morgan has been around the culinary world long enough to recognize a good piece of meat when he cuts into it.
After all, he’s spent a career pleasing dining crowds up and down the East Coast, from Florida to his current home near the Chesapeake Bay.
But it wasn’t until a telephone call with a farmer standing in the middle of his field nearly 1,000 miles away that the culinary head and co-owner of Two Rivers Steak & Fish House, one of greater Baltimore area’s dining hot spots, truly understood the effort that goes into bringing quality beef from farm to fork.
On the other end of the phone was Brian McCulloh, who owns and operates Woodhill Farms with his wife, Lori, in Viroqua, Wis.
“He’s the real deal,” Chef Morgan says of McCulloh. “He was so passionate about what he does. He said ‘I’m raising the best cattle I can for you guys,’ and took time to talk about the Certified Angus Beef ® brand and its specifications. There’s no doubt about it – we never have complaints on our steaks. It’s just so consistent.”
And consistent, quality steak at an affordable price was something Morgan, a Milwaukee native and Culinary Institute of America graduate, aimed at making the hallmark of Two Rivers.
Officially opening its doors September 28, 2011, Morgan’s 275-seat restaurant, located in the Baltimore suburb of Pasadena, hit the ground running, serving 800-1,000 patrons a day in its first few months of operation.
Today, Two Rivers has truly become a destination, where Morgan’s take of quality cuisine that’s accessible to everyone shines through.
“We wanted to go above and beyond with quality products, but make it affordable for families,” Morgan said. “You can get a 6 oz. filet with two sides for $19.99 here. For us, it’s about the family and giving them quality, but making it affordable. I think that’s where the economy has taken us.”
Since opening Two Rivers, Morgan has worked tirelessly to be a mentor to not only his staff, but also to aspiring culinarians. He’s also accepted a role as a Brand Ambassador for the Certified Angus Beef ® brand – which he serves exclusively at Two Rivers – and doesn’t hesitate to share the secret behind his mastery of meat.
“It’s been great,” Morgan says. “We never have complaints about our steaks, and we kick out about 600 a day. We’re a total scratch house – we make our own bread, cut our own meat, desserts are all made in-house. We have a staff of about 100, and when I walk people through the kitchen, they’re amazed.”
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