West Virginia-born Mark Cox began cooking at the tender age of 15 in his rural hometown of Wheeling. Three years later Cox ventured to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hudson, New York to further hone his skills and eventually to graduate at the top of his class.
After an apprenticeship at the luxurious West Virginia resort, The Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs, Cox traveled to the nation’s capital to take a position on the opening team of the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC.
Cox moved to Texas, the home state of his fiancée, Lisa, who had accepted a job transfer at the then new Four Seasons Hotel Houston. Upon arrival, Cox accepted a position at Brennan’s of Houston, and by the age of 25, shortly rose to the rank of Executive Chef.
Three years later, Cox joined forces with Tony Vallone, to help create the menu for Anthony’s, an upscale Italian restaurant in Houston’s downtown area. With Cox at the helm, Anthony’s became a runaway success from its opening day.
Cox worked with the Vallone Restaurant Group for 11 years. During this time he revitalized Tony’s, Vallone’s flagship restaurant. He became Executive Chef and Partner for both The Grotto and La Griglia.
Cox left the Vallone Restaurant Group in late 1996 to open his own independent restaurant, Mark’s American Cuisine, also working as a professor at the Houston campus of the Art Institute, where he inspired eager young students just beginning their culinary careers. To this day his eponymous restaurant remains a favorite among the knowledgeable epicures of Houston.