With the most classic of Italian culinary foundations where it was built upon his family’s kitchen, Chef Marco Petriacci adds his own touch to Nero Nero, where it is not only a gastronomic adventure but an education in Italian culture
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Here, Roman-born Chef Marco Petriacci takes a trip down memory lane and reveals what it takes to bring Nero Nero to the top.
What inspired you to be a chef and how did you get started?
My journey started in 2008 in my hometown, Rome, Italy, where I stumbled across my one true passion, which is pastries.
In 2012, I decided to expand my culinary skills and knowledge in the vibrant city of London. Like every Italian kid, I grew up with my grandmothers and aunties in the kitchen.
We used to have big Sunday family brunches, and I would help prepare the dishes in the kitchen—I think that sparked my interest in cooking.
If you had to create a menu with one ingredient, what would you choose? And why?
Tomatoes! You can use it in an array of dishes, from salads to main courses, even desserts if you’re a fan of tomato jam.
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Nero Nero is considered one of the more successful Italian restaurants in Malaysia. What does it take to get a restaurant to that level?
Simple, I keep the quality consistent.
Besides that, I am always on the hunt for the best ingredients in the market. I make sure that our diners will always have something new to look out for, and are excited with our offerings of new specials and authentic Italian dishes.
Being a foreign chef in Malaysia, what are some of the things you had to change in order to adapt to the Malaysian taste buds?
I had to realign my usual method of cooking and make the dishes more potent in flavour in order to adapt to the Malaysian taste buds.
At the same time, I make it a point to only use premium quality ingredients that are available in Malaysia while I source all other ingredients from close to home in Italy.
That helps me maintain the authentic flavours.
Italian cuisine has been a staple in Malaysia for years. How do you draw people into Nero Nero? How does Nero Nero stand out in a place where there’s already a sea of Italian restaurants?
Again, I can’t stress this enough—always keep it authentic!
Malaysian dining patterns have changed a lot over the past few years, now they are more open to understanding and accepting the Italian culture and food.
Also because people are travelling a lot, they are more exposed to the actual flavours of the region and it’s interesting to see that a lot of the guests that visit Nero Nero, would compare our dishes with the ones they had in Italy.
This just blows my mind, honestly.
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY XERXES LEE / AWESOME IMAGE STUDIO