Bright Energetic Young Chef Bergia Marta
I begin my culinary career in London working for fiery and renowned kitchens and company including: the Ronnie’s Scott Jazz Club, the Angler Restaurant in South Place Hotel, Zuma restaurant in Knightsbridge, following in Dubai/Abu Dhabi for La Petite Maison restaurant, and now travelling the world.
How did you decided to became a chef?
Since I was able to reach the stove, I was helping my grandmother cooking over the weekends off from school. She used to make lots and lots of fresh pasta and I just couldn’t help it but to dig my hands into the flour and the eggs and most of the time just make a big mess out of it. I was just 9 years old when I finally get a hold of that huge amount of flour and made what was a fairly done pasta dough. I always spent most of the time in the kitchen: the main reason was because I really loved to eat and helping my grandmother and my mother would have meant that I was granted with food out of the meal times. I think my desire of being a chef is a product of my early imprinting with the food.
What do you remember of your first year as a chef?
I remember I used to work for a big catering company, and one of the job which me and my colleague where always put at was cleaning the basil leaves for the pesto. I remember boxes and boxes of basil almost endless, and I remember my little white wet cloth that I used to clean them one by one. That was the way the head chef wanted, and every twenty minutes he will be coming to check us in what was for us a very terrifying silence. Now thinking about it makes me smile as I never encountered that amount of basil ever again in my career!
How would you describe your cooking style?
I have a singular opinion on pinning down what is my cooking style. It would be easy for me just to give a few words and in that way define myself into some fitted category, but cuisine it’s in continuous evolution, as is our life as chefs. The experiences we have, our success and our failure improve us and change us. I can say for sure that my style now is not what it was four years ago, and most probably won’t be the same four years from now. So when I think about a style, I see it in the big picture which can be described as the philosophy itself behind my love and passion for been a chef. What drives my hands is not the rule of a particular cuisine style but is the continuous improvement of myself as a chef, my constant research of the new and the willing on giving always the best.
Your motto: “Travelling for culinary purpose.” Since when you knew that culinary distance was the way to go?
The understanding of the importance of travelling for culinary purpose was an idea that developed in me since my first year in London. I decided that if I wanted to cultivate my passion and growth my knowledge I was having to overcome not only my initial language barrier, but also my initial poor understanding of the world around me. Working with people of different countries, culture and currents of thought, enriched me and inspired me. I had the chance of working with very strong chefs that had a beautiful team and taught me a lot. My four years in London have been a blessing.
No home sickness to beautiful Italy?
A part from my family, which is always in my heart, I do miss the artisanal cheese and products from the valley I came from, on the Alps mountain, which are not available in the big market of the export. I do try my best to go back once a year, and, to be honest, I literally fill up my luggages with any kind of food I can transport.
How do you feel as a woman in this often male-dominated world?
When I put on my uniform and I enter the kitchen I am not a woman and I am not a man: I am a chef. This is something that as always been very clear to me and to the people I work with.
You’re young, talented, ambitious… Where should the journey take you?
I left my job in Abu Dhabi to start a travel through the South America with my sommelier/husband Szu Hao Tseng, to discover the culture of the food and the qualities of the wine from Argentina, to Chile, to Perú. I then travelled to Asia, touching Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Macau and Hong Kong. I am right now in Taiwan where I’m about to start my new journey back into the kitchen.
Are you planning on having your own restaurant?
I suppose every young chef dreams of his own activity in the industry, and so do I, but for now there is still a whole world to tackle and to learn from by travelling and working, opening my mind to different tradition and different point of view. I believe understanding and knowledge are the most important qualities for growing into a more complete chef, and so be able to give something back to the world that already gave me so much.
Thank you Marta!