It’s hard for Stamford native Marc Weber to recall a time that he wasn’t in the kitchen. At five-years-old, he and his mother would cook dinner together in the evenings.
“She worked in the city and we lived in Stamford, she’d get off the train and come home, I’d be playing and she’d say, “Marc, let’s make dinner,”” Weber said. “We never had a kids' menu growing up, we ate what my mom and dad were eating. She would read food magazines and try out new recipes—it was a very gourmet food experience for a five-year-old!”
When Weber’s mother started her own company and began traveling more for work, Weber would cook meals for his family.
“I asked for a bread machine one year for Hanukah, that’s just the type of kid I was,” Weber said.
At fifteen, he began working in restaurant kitchens — cutting bread, making salads, doing anything that needed to be done. A member of the second graduating class from , Weber was able to intern at the Sheraton on Wednesdays and continue to work in kitchens after school.
“They gave me freedom, they made a schedule that worked for me, when I wanted to go cook, they made that possible,” Weber said. “Mrs. Bisceglie was my guidance counselor, she’s still there, she was instrumental.”
After graduating from AITE, Weber studied at the Culinary Institute of America while continuing to work in restaurants whenever he had the time.
“I had an "aha moment" when I was working in a really high end restaurant,” Weber said. “I realized, they use the same equipment I do, their eggplants are the same eggplants I can get. I can do what they do because we have the same tools. It sounds simple, but it was one of those revelations.”
His family urged him to get his bachelors degree after culinary school and he began studying all while beginning to build a catering business.
“I’d be in class writing proposals. As the business grew, I had less interest in school, I’ve always been a practical person and the real world was right there,” Weber said. “My mother, unbelievably, let me drop out. I promised that I’d give it six months and if it wasn’t working out, I’d go back to school.”
Weber founded On The Marc Events in 2006, and five years later, he has built a million dollar business catering events throughout the region. While Weber had experience in a number of restaurants and at the Sheraton’s kitchen, he had never worked for an off-site catering company — something he credits for his ability to find his own way of doing things instead of playing by the typical rules of the catering world.
“We cook more on site and we spend a lot of time on menu writing,” Weber explained. “If you want Moroccan, we’ll do it, if you want a Bento box, we can do that — it can be anything,” Weber said. “I like to cook things that are outside of the box, we had a client who had a vegan wedding. That was great because we were able to experiment.”
One of the hallmarks of On the Marc Events is the way that they work with every client to plan the right menu. There are no sample menus to choose from, Weber prepares one based on the individual client and then works to hone it to fit their needs and preferences.
While so much of the industry came naturally, jumping into catering in his early twenties brought plenty of surprises.
“I was so young when I started,” Weber said. “I’d hear $20 to rent an ice bucket and that was a lot of money. I didn’t have financing starting out, I took money from one party and that would pay for my next party.”
As his company has grown, Weber has slowly added to his staff. Amos Bigler has been his executive chef since November 2009 and Lauren Martin has served as event planner for the past two years. For Weber, watching On the Marc Events grow has fulfilled a dream that stretched back to his mother's kitchen.
“In my eighth grade yearbook, it said what I wanted to be—other kids wrote the President, an astronaut, mine says a chef. It’s always been that,” Weber said. “Kids should feel empowered, I don’t want to say it’s easy, it’s not, but it’s not impossible. I work hard, I make good food, and I made a business.”