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Meet the Chef Series: Chef Marcus Leslie Sr., Owner of Mr. Leslie Cheesecakes.

Michigan Premier Events is featuring Chef's around Michigan!

Chefs in Michigan talk on their philosophies, methods and the passion behind their culinary talents. Each month Michigan Premier Events features some of Michigan's best chefs about their food, philosophy, inspiration and plans for the future.

Our featured Chef this month is Marcus Leslie Sr. , Owner of Mr. Leslie's Cheesecakes.

Marcus Leslie Sr. is a native of Detroit who has loved baking since he was a child. Marcus would often experiment by making homemade cookies and his family were his test subjects. Marcus remembers his father making homemade desserts like peach cobbler and birthday cakes for he and his four sisters. Marcus’s father and mother encouraged him to always follow his dreams. Although he had a passion to bake as a child, he only discovered his passion for making cheesecakes after attending a friend’s dinner party where homemade cheesecake was served. Having never considered the fact that the traditionally chilled dessert must first be baked like any other cake, Leslie became fascinated with baking cheesecakes of his own – first serving them at get-togethers at his home then making them for friends and eventually transitioning the hobby into a fledgling business.

Marcus decided to launch his cheesecake business in 2019 out of the Allen Neighborhood Center in Lansing. Shortly after that, Marcus applied for the LEAP Grant for $2000 and launched his wholesale business with Meijer several months later.

Michigan Premier Events interviewed Mr. Leslie himself about his team, inspiration and plans for the future!

How do you maintain your love of cooking after working long hours?

Because it’s something I love to do, I don’t grow tired of it. Food is something we all need so I enjoy it and enjoy the smiles we put on faces.

How do you inspire creativity in your kitchen team?

By empowering them to do the best at the thing their good at! If its decorating – I want to see the best decorated cake. If its organizing – that’s the job, I empower them to do.

What cuisine do you most enjoy cooking and why?

Cheesecakes – I like to see their faces when I tell them all the flavors I enjoy. The second thing I enjoy the most is grilling – anything.

Tell me about your culinary education and training.

I’m self- taught. I did take a few culinary vocational classes in my teens; however, I have not had any formal training.

What is your signature dish? What do people love about it?

I would say my signature cake that people ask about the most is peach cobbler cheesecake. It was the first cake I produced with a fruit flavor and that everyone loved after the first bite.

What is your process to create a new signature dish?

I think about what I enjoy eating in terms of desserts and determine if I would want to eat that in cheesecake form.

Name the three kitchen tools you can’t do without?

Industrial Mixer



How do you describe your overall cooking philosophy?

Season until the ancestor to tell you to stop.

What chef’s do you follow on social media (or admire their work and career

in general)? Explain why?

Chef Tobias on Instagram – he makes great dishes and I like his style; he’s not a typical Chef.

Kimmy’s Kreations –She shows up as her authentic self and does everything and she’s funny.

What do you do when you are not working? What are your favorite hobbies?

I love to spend time with my beautiful wife who I appreciate and adore and spending time with my kids and sleeping.

Do you have a favorite vacation spot in Pure Michigan?

We found a spot that we really love in Holland, however, we plan on traveling around Michigan much more so we can find a favorite spot.

What are your plans for the future?

Continue to grow a business that changes lives, spread happiness and impacts the


To learn more about Mr. Leslie's Cheesecakes, visit


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