MARC DE PASSORIO
At the turn of the millennium, Marc de Passorio was cooking for Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. This month, the Michelin-starred chef has set up shop in Auckland.
The 50-year-old Frenchman fell for New Zealand’s charms six years ago, on a visit to help open Wanaka’s Bistro Gentil. Three weeks before this interview, Chef Marc relocated permanently to the Land of the Long White Cloud. His wife and two daughters, aged 8 and 12, were en route.
An open kitchen crafted from white marble and gold chrome at Harbour Society restaurant, on the 15th floor of Auckland’s newly opened hotel SO/, is de Passorio’s new stomping ground. The dining room, which seats 95, overlooks bright lights of Britomart on one side, the harbour and high rises on others.
The chef’s menu is unapologetically French, with global influences, making use of New Zealand’s favourite produce according to the seasons. Our salmon, he says, is “fantastique”. Crayfish poached in vodka is among his signature dishes. But the effervescent character, with an eye twinkle and a chin dimple, expects dining to be something of a collaboration, between chef and guest: “If you want something, you come to discuss with me,” he says, adding that kids who love cooking could be in for an impromptu lesson. “Why not?” he asks, rhetorically. “What you know, you transmit to the next generation.”
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