Controversial celebrity promoter Max Markson achieved a new level of notoriety in 2010 when his client Lara Bingle chose to tackle Brendan Fevola head-on over a semi-nude photo “the Fev” took of her in the shower going public.
The blaze of publicity which followed meant that only lizards living under Uluru failed to hear about it, and shortly after the story broke, Australia’s cricket-captain-in-waiting Michael Clarke flew home from a tour to New Zealand as his red-carpet relationship with Lara Bingle came to a goldfish-bowl ending. All the while occasional images of Max Markson flitted across Australian TV screens – yet while many media pundits adopted a judgemental tone, rather than events permanently tarnishing Markson’s reputation, the man’s colourful character seemed to endear him to ever-increasing swathes of the general population.
Markson’s twitter followers grow in numbers daily, where he eases effortlessly from tweets with almost all Australian celebrities past and present – collectively they seem only too happy to keep Markson close to their tweeterly bosoms (celebrities such as foodie star Luke Mangan, rap legend MC Hammer, model Laura Dundovic and almost all the Australian cricket team) to enthusiastic exchanges with everyday folk who share his passion for life and chocolate. Instantly using twitter to respond to breaking news, recently Max delivered a sharp retort to the start of the 2010 Logies where compere Bert Newton wryly suggested to a young starlet that she “call Max Markson”. Markson’s tweet moments later: “Thanks Bert, your cheque’s in the mail!”.
But there’s another side to Max Markson – the man is a fanatical Sydney foodie. For many years he took his gourmet sensibilities so seriously that he was vegan and macrobiotic. Amazingly with his energy levels, Markson does not drink coffee – or tea. He would rather consume such outlandish gourmet oddities as umeboshi plums, tamari almonds, sunflower seeds, rice milk or almond milk.
We bumped into Markson at his favourite cafe, The Perfect Cup in his office’s suburb of Redfern, and discovered a man whose passion for Sydney – and for food and lifestyle – matches his hunger for publicity, PR, partying with celebrities and the limelight…
So Max, apart from all the controversy over the first half of 2010 which we’ve all heard enough about, what else is hot in your life right now ?
Loving my work. Events about to happen and client activities … I’ve never been so busy in my entire life – or the 28 years since I started my Markson Sparks PR, publicity , promotions, event and celebrity management business.
When you’re switched off from work, relaxing and working out where to go for a bite to eat, where do you like to go?
Icebergs, North Bondi Italian (NBI), Catalina, Flying Fish, Bodhi’s, Boathouse Blackwattle Bay, Doyle’s Watsons Bay, Raw Bar, Beppi’s, Glass, Quay, Aqua Dining, Bathers Balmoral, Guillaime, Cafe Sydney, Aria, China Doll and Manta.
What about restaurants on your frequent trips to Melbourne?
Grossi Florentino, Stokehouse, Donovans , Rockpool, Guillaime, Nobu, Giuseppe, Arnaldo & Sons, Meat+Wine Company and Society.
Apart from the Sydney fine dining restaurant scene, do you have any cafes that you love?
The Perfect Cup in Redfern, DBs in Double Bay, Bourke St Bakery, Iku, Lindt Chocolate Cafes in Martin Place and Darling Harbour, Max Brenner chocolate cafes everywhere, San Churro Choc Cafes in Glebe and Bondi Beach, and Guylian Chocolate cafe.
And bars or clubs?
Zeta, Ivy, Hugos, and I love dancing at the Retro at the Bristol Arms Hotel on Sussex Street on a Saturday night! It goes off!
Are you a fish man or a steak man?
Other than fish, are you more a steak, or a vegies kind-of bloke?
Very much vegies. I used to be vegan and macrobiotic. Now I don’t eat meat, chicken, veal, milk, butter, eggs, cheese unless it’s in ice cream and desserts. I adore Parisis in Rose Bay, especially now they’ve created a great new food hall. Spectacular!
Do you have a preferred coffee brand?
I don’t drink coffee or tea – but my favourite coffee brand has to be MAXwell House Coffee! In the morning I just have hot water with a slice of lemon.
Are you a wine, beer or cocktails kind-of bloke?
Definitely cocktails – loving NBI’s sgroppino! You can make it at home – just get lemon sorbet and vodka and bamix it up to a fluffy finish!
And of course Toblerone cocktails. Bistro C at Noosa makes the best one in Australia. Also I love great champagnes, especially Rose champagne. And because of my sweet tooth – Lambrusco and Asti spumante.
Any lemon sorbet and any vodka! Although I always have bottles of Belvedere and Grey Goose in the freezer alongside Van Gogh flavoured vodkas and Vitek’s flavoured vodkas. And Laurent Perrier champagne. But I’m also partial to Campari and Orange Juice, Baileys, Kahlua, Tia Maria, Advocaat and Cherry Brandy.
What are you glad to have left behind last year?
Absolutely nothing. I don’t have regrets.
If you were to cook for dinner-party guests, what could they expect?
Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne, fish, salads, no meat, and loads of ice cream and cakes from Cuisine Cakes on Old South Head Rd … their tiramisu cake is to die for, great cheeses and olives. Oh and a load of Lindt balls, and any choice of magnum ice cream you can think of.
What are the 3 products you’re most likely to come out of a gourmet food shop with?
Smoked salmon, assorted dips, specialty ice creams like Kohu Road from New Zealand (hard to find!) and Maggie Beer’s ice creams, especially the burnt almond fig one!
Are you into organic foods or wines?
Yes. I used to love going to Macro Wholefoods. Started going there in 1996. We were vegan and macrobiotic then.
Anything in particular?
Fruits, vegies, miso, soy yoghurts, umeboshi plums, tamari, tamari almonds, sunflower seeds, rice milk, almond milk, almond butter, soba noodles … I can spend a fortune shopping!
You mention on twitter that you’re crazy about chocolate – which brands melt your heart?
All of them! Lindt, Toblerone, Max Brenner, Valrhona, Cadbury , Nestle … I just love chocolate.
What projects have you got coming up that people should keep an eye out for?
Working on visits by Alain Robert, the French spiderman who climbs up very tall buildings and gets arrested! And I also hope to bring over Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield and one of the world’s great futurists and inventors Ray Kurzweil. Bill Gates says he knows more about the future of technology than anyone else in the world.
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