Marc Marrone the Corporate Executive Chef of TAO group. He has been cooking since he was 15 and got his inspiration from cooking with his family as a kid.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What inspired you to become a chef?
I grew up cooking with my father and grandmother a lot in the kitchen. I fell in love with cooking and my dad always wanted to cook professionally, so it made me want to try and do this for a living.
What has your journey been like since first stepping foot in a kitchen?
It’s been a wild ride of some of the greatest moments of my life along with some of the most heartbreaking and low. But overall I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. It’s been full of growing emotionally along with culinary wise.
Do you have a specialty? If so, what drew you to that type of food?
I pride myself on being well rounded , but my passion really lies with Chinese food. The rich history in all the dishes really interested me.
What is your definition of success?
Success is finding what fulfills you. Being able to cook and do what I love every day is success to me.
What failures have you had along the way? How have they led you to success?
I feel like as chefs we have failures daily and we can choose to have these failures push us to succeed and grow. I had one experience as a cook at a fast casual restaurant back when I was 19, we had an inquiry for a 40 person lunch from a tour company. I had two other cooks call out, but being as arrogant as I am/was …I said no problem. I had a two hour’s to prepare and didn’t take that time to plan at all or communicate…needless to say I crashed and burned.. hard. I learned then and always to prepare, organize and ask for help when needed.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Yes we always have something new and exciting in the works between our venues in LA, Las Vegas and Singapore. The Singapore project was one of the most exciting and tough, yet most fulfilling openings I’ve done.
What advice do you have for aspiring chefs?
First step is making sure cooking professionally is what you want to do. Go work at any food service establishment. If work your ass off, hardly make any money but go home and love every minute of it, then it’s the job for you. Cooking at home and professionally are very different.
What is the key to creating the perfect dish?
Ooooh, that’s a tough one. You have to have passion and put your heart into it, and love the dish yourself. It needs to have clear direction and needs to be as clean conceptually as it is in flavor.
It is said that food is a common ground that brings people together. As someone who makes food for a living, what does this saying mean to you?
It is exactly why I do what I do. Food is a universal language that people from any part of the world can relate to and enjoy.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a Chef” and why?
1. You will be your own worst critic
2. When you think you know it all, you will get a harsh reminder you don’t know everything
3. You can’t please the world, you can just cook with love and passion and tell your culinary story. Don’t get discouraged when every person doesn’t love it like you do
4. Be patient, don’t expect to be the chef, the leader or have the world see you as the culinary master you are in your head in 5 years. It takes time
5. You will love every minute of it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
You never know what your idea can trigger. People should go to a random country they know nothing about and cook. Cook with people, eat with people and explore their world through food and tell your story through your own cooking to them
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to cook for and why?
Honestly I would be honored to cook for anyone who was interested in exploring the world through food and wants to try something new with me.