While aiming for a refined expression of the season’s freshest ingredients at Hearth, Marco’s menus at his wine bars, Terroir East Village and Terroir Tribeca, deliver perennial crowd-pleasers to complement his partner Paul Grieco’s beer and wine selections. The combination has been a success, earning Terroir East Village the title of Best Wine Bar from New York Magazine and garnering Terroir Tribeca a place on Travel & Leisure’s list of “The 50 Best New Restaurants in the USA”.
Insieme Restaurant at the Michelangelo Hotel in Midtown Manhattan was another one of Marco and Paul’s collaborations, and during the two years that they launched and operated the restaurant, it not only received a coveted Michelin Star but was also ranked one of New York’s best new restaurants in both New York Magazine and the New York Times’ year-end round-up’s.
Marco’s first independent venture was La Cucina Ristorante at the Tuscany Inn on Martha’s Vineyard. A seasonal restaurant that opened its doors for the first time in the summer of 1996, La Cucina quickly became known as one of the best restaurants on the island and drew then-vacationing President Clinton and his family to dine there in 1998 after Marco had cooked a birthday dinner for the President at a private home the previous summer.
After several years of cooking on the West Coast, Marco arrived in New York City in 1996 and landed a job as a line-cook at Gramercy Tavern. There, he discovered a mentor in chef/owner Tom Colicchio. In the spring of 1997, Tom helped Marco set up a stage at Cibreo, Fabio Picchi’s renowned restaurant in Florence, Italy. Under Picchi’s tutelage, Marco learned to hone his cooking skills and his appreciation for simple Italian food prepared with constant adjustments for flavor and seasoning.
Prior to striking out on his own with Hearth and later Terroir and Insieme, Marco was enlisted by Tom to open Craft Restaurant in the Flatiron District. It was during Marco’s tenure there that the restaurant received three stars from the New York Times and won the 2001 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the Country. As Craft’s executive chef, Marco also helped launch Craftbar and Craftsteak in Las Vegas.
Since opening Hearth, Marco has been a repeat guest on The Today Show and made appearances on the CBS Early Show, Martha Stewart, and ABC Nightline. The highlight of his television career so far has been the Food Network’s 2010 Next Iron Chef on which he appeared as a contestant.
In 2009, Marco published Salt to Taste: The Keys To Confident, Delicious Cooking (Rodale). The book was nominated for a James Beard Publishing Award and selected as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best of The Best. Marco has also created a series of instructional webisodes for KitchenDaily.com in an effort to share some of his favorite dishes as well as some helpful cooking techniques with a wider audience. But his preferred mode of instruction remains the annual cooking classes that he leads each summer in Tuscany, where he can watch students roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.