Meeting with Marc de Passorio, the only starred chef in New Zealand
It is in the lobby of the SO/Auckland with a very avant-garde decoration that we meet the charming chef, Marc de Passorio. A man with many lives: born in Cameroon, Marc grew up in the Réunion Island and created restaurants all over the world. We were curious to know what brought him to New Zealand and what are his new aspirations. Our French chef who is always on the go gave us an exclusive interview Kitting us in the middle of a very tight schedule.
Marc, what brought you to New Zealand so far from France?
In 2011 I met someone who asked me to come to New Zealand to test the feasibility of a restaurant on Lake Wanaka. I seem to remember it was around 15 June and I had my ticket on 1 July. I told myself that I would come back and Kinish my life here. The air, the landscapes, the inhabitants of New Zealand really aspired me. It was just like a revelation for me.
What does it mean for you to be a starred chef?
Being starred means that I have succeeded and that I can now pass on my knowledge. I’ve never had any issue Kinding or keeping employees. It also brings international recognition. I was the Kirst starred chef of the PaciKic Ocean and it was a real consecration of my achievements.
Which New Zealand products do you like to work with?
The avocado is extraordinary, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, salmon ... The lamb is from another planet! It's amazing ... The products are fabulous but it's a daily struggle to get producers to understand that we are open to change (laughs).
How do you define your cuisine?
My cuisine is rather exotic-southern. There is always a little ginger, soy and spices because I come from the Réunion Island but I never touch the original product. The lamb will taste like lamb and salmon like salmon. I will never Kill with sauce or hide the taste of the product.