Marco Caverni, Italian Chef  and restaurant owner of the “Al Choc Osteria Italian” in Seoul, Korea, about his experiences in Asia.

 

You are a young ambitiously Italian chef with lots of experience in Asia. Where does you passion for being a chef comes from?

My passion came from my family as many other chefs, with my Mom beeing from Venice and My Dad from Tuscany i slowly discovered 2 very different style of cuisine but both of them Italian!

But i became more interested when i joined a italian culinary and hospitality school, it was so different from a normal school, the entrance resemble a hotel reception and it has many fully equipped kitchen labs  that could truly be a fine dining restaurant kitchen!

That unique environment brought me a lot of excitement, i felt i entering a very unique world.

 

Which cooking school did you visit in Italy?

I Attended G. Cipriani culinary and hospitality school in Adria (Ro) Italy.

 

 

How would you describe your culinary line today?

Right now im doing classic Italian Cuisine, i feel that Korea where i am right now, truly need more authentic restaurants.

But as a Chef and Restaurateur now, i aim to make new concepts where i can propose different tipes of cooking styles.

 

Apart from your work as chef in Venice and Milland, you started early to work as chef in China, Singapore, Indonesia and now Korea. What does fascinate you to work as chef in Asia?

My love For Asia started when i took a chance to study with AFS exchange students program 1 year in China when i was 17 years old. That year truly changed my life and made me understand that there is so much to discover in the world.

Luckily the Chef job that i was training to do allowed me to go back to Asia quite fast and after a few years in italy where i learned the basics from very good Chefs i was back again for more Adventure!

Is very fascinating to learn new culture and see how they relate to food, their taste, their eating habits and how they enjoy italian food!

Some more i love how Asia is always growing and you feel this enthusiasm in the air!

 

Do you concentrate full on Italian cooking in Asia; or do you get inspired as well of some Italian/ Asian fusion ideas?

Mostly i always had concentrated on italian cooking, as is what is expect a italian chef to do, customers come to you because they feel as italian you can give them a true italian experience, but i did enjoy sometimes to do some fusion , the world cuisine is always evolving and it would be a pity to stick only to those classic dishes.

In the future i definetely want to try to use different ingredients to give a unique food offer to my customers!

 

 

Within the Italian restaurants in Asia you worked; did they adopted the Italian kitchen to the local tastes?

I feel that is normal and somehow necessary sometimes. Not really to change the recipe and put some local ingredients inside but more as be smart to propose what the local people would appreciate more.

For example, proposing a hearthy main course of Venician Polenta with a Venison roast or Stew it can be a good idea for European Customers but not so good idea for south east asian ones as they dont really have a taste for Polenta. So is up to The Chef to propose a different dish or change the ingredient to something that the customers will appreciate and enjoy more, without moving too much from tradition!

But sometimes if you have a skilled service staff you can try to explain the dish so they know it might be weird for them but is something traditional and a new taste for them to try!

 

What was the reason for you to move to Korea?

I was looking for a place where i could set up my first restaurant, i had a friend in Seoul and he propose me to give it a try. i took a look around and i saw the amazing potential of the place, So i decided to give it a try!

Seoul have a very interesting food scene and im glad i can bring my cuisine to My guests in Korea.

 

What are you doing in Korea today?

I Run “Al Choc” Italian Osteria in Seoul, a small cozy Italian Bistrot aiming to bring more authentic Italian Food in Seoul!

 

Lots of Italian restaurants in Asia are fine dining/ expensive places. How do you see the market/ chance to start with a small, less expensive authentic Italian in Asia?

Well i Think there are a Lot of opportunities still in Asia for small businesses

A small elite of peope go to fine dining restaurants but there is still a huge amout of people that wants to have italian food at a reasonable price, not fancy food, just simple authentic and tasty italian food!

Italian food is simple and inexpansive to begin with! So there is no issue to start with a small inexpansive business.

 

Marco Caverni, thank you for your time.