Chef Marco Stabile's love affair with food started fairly early in the streets of Tuscany. As he grew older, his fascination for new flavours took him to best mentors in Italy where he honed his skills and became a name to reckon with in the F&B world. With a Michelin star honour in his kitty, Chef Marco is inspired to explore, innovate and make the world happy, one meal at a time. He came down to India for a special 6-day Italian pop-up at Caprese, Shangri-la Hotel, Bengaluru. We caught up with the culinary and learned a good deal about his passion for cooking, ingredients he is currently obsessing over and a lot more!
1. What Brings You Here?
I have been with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Asia for almost a decade to do exclusive pop-ups to bring in the taste of 'Ora d Aria' to their diners. In 2018, I worked with Shangri-La Hotel Chiang Mai where we worked together to infuse Tuscan delicacies with fresh Thai produce. In 2012, I travelled to Tokyo to take over Piacere, the Italian restaurant at Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo for a seven-day pop-up.
I was always fascinated with the culture of India and when Chef Gagandeep Sawhney, Executive Chef of Shangri-La Hotel Bengaluru, invited me to collaborate to showcase my culinary skills to patrons at Caprese, I was delighted.
2. When Did You Start Cooking?
My passion for cooking started when I was a child with my mother as my mentor. I was maybe one of the few children in Italy who wasn't interested in playing football but was keen on learning how to make the perfect sauce in the kitchen.
3. How Did The Michelin Star Honour Change Your Life?
My philosophy in life is to always keep doing better than the last time. The Michelin star honour has motivated me and pushed me to be better than before in every aspect of my life. I am always thinking about how I could improve more, how I can create joyful moments for my guests through food.
4. One Ingredient You Are Obsessing Over Currently.
I am a Tuscan and shall forever be obsessing about extra virgin olive oil. I have even created a dessert out of my love for olive oil.
Olio dolce is an extra virgin olive oil dessert, made with semolina and robiola cream crumble, white chocolate mousse and olive ice cream. This unconventional dessert was also included in the special menu curated by me at Shangri-La Hotel in Bengaluru.
5. Your Fondest Food Memory.
My grandmother Maria's Roasted Potatoes and Chicken. Nothing even comes close to that.
6. A Pro-Tip To Make Perfect Aglio Olio.
I love to make Aglio Olio spaghetti with various aspects of garlic. Slice garlic and shallow fry it and then boil the par-boiled spaghetti in the roasted garlic water until al dente. Finish it with very good extra virgin olive oil and top it with garlic crisps and some chilli peppers. Do not cook the chilli pepper.
7. An Indian Dish You Particularly Enjoy And Would Like To Take Back With You?
I tried the butter chicken (Murgh Makhan Malai Wala) with butter naan recently and I loved it. The tandoor-flavoured chicken in the rich gravy has inspired me to recreate similar flavours in my dishes in the future. Also, the gulab jamun with saffron was amazing.
8. One Tip for Budding Chefs and Entrepreneurs.
Budding chefs should believe in themselves, never give up and work hard to achieve their goals. This profession is only for the passionate. Also, do not forget where you came from and your roots.
Entrepreneurs should not forget that food sustains us. It is not only about money. Find a good balance between quality and business.