Chef Q&A: Marcel Acostoaie, Private Chef

Experienced chef Marcel Acostoaie believes in a farm-to-table approach and likes to keep things simple. We caught up with him for a quick chat…

What is your earliest childhood food memory?
“Trying not to burn the house down cooking a seven-egg omelette when I was about five!”

What is your favourite dish to cook for friends and family?
“A Tom Yum soup with nice fat juicy king prawns.”

Who influenced your cooking most?
“I was raised in a family where home cooking was a big thing. Everyone in my family is a great cook so I guess it’s in the blood. I really look up to my uncle; he was a head chef at a mountain resort reserved for top military officers in Romania.”

Is there a chef you admire most?
“It would be a mistake not to admire more than one. There are a plethora of great chefs out there and I am trying to pay attention and learn a little from as many as I can.”

What is your favourite ingredient and why?
“Salt and pepper – or in a word, seasoning! As a chef, that’s probably the first two ingredients you learn how to use properly and, how important they are in almost every single dish or cooking process. Try cooking without either of the two and the dish, no matter how good looking or expensive it is, will definitely be incomplete. We even add salt or pepper to some desserts as it acts as a flavour enhancer and adds aromatics. These are the “cannot do without” ingredients in every chef’s life. Humble but versatile.”

Fresh pasta in the making

Do you have a favourite cuisine?
“I am more and more attracted by Asian cuisine and its freshness at the moment. Since I started my private chef business I have seen a huge demand for Asian-themed menus from my customers.”

Do you have a favourite restaurant?
“Every restaurant that I can learn something from, by trying their food, is my favourite restaurant. I love the hidden little gems; those places that you find on your holiday somewhere and remember for the rest of your life.”

Food on a Plate or Slate?

Marmite, love or hate?
“I love it occasionally but won’t use it in cooking.”

What would your last meal be?
“A proper Greek salad! I am easy to please. Organic tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and onion, barrel-aged feta, Kalamata olives, extra virgin olive oil, plenty of oregano – and preferably served on a Mediterranean beach.”

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