480 South Collier Blvd., Marco
Sale e Pepe,
Marco Beach Ocean Resort, 480 S. Collier Blvd., Phone: 239-3943-1600. Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday.
Began working at present restaurant?
The end of year 2000.
What is it about food that made you decide to cook for a living?
It is a passion. When you have a passion you have an interest, a new style. Everything there is about it is a life-long commitment.
What was your first restaurant job?
I was 14 and responsible for the garde manager in Torino, Italy.
How long have you been cooking professionally?
Approximately 21 years.
What is the most unusual dish you ever cooked?
Fritto Misto Piemontese is unusual here (U.S.) because it’s of our culture (traditionally includes rabbit and organ meats), but in Europe it’s considered a delicacy served on special occasions.
Are you planning changes to your menu for the summer season?
Yes we have. Our summer menu is very nice, affordable menu, very authentic and flavorful. A lot of salad in a different special every night and, of course, many of my signature homemade fresh pasta dishes.
What is the most popular dish on your menu?
Among these is a fish that is delicate and somewhat rare — branzino — a European sea bass variety I prepare sautéed with spaghetti and zucchini with garlic and mint. Then also, our daily specials are also popular with our guests.
What is one food that you’ll never eat? Why?
I will try all kinds, first by looking with my eyes, smell it and then taste it but that doesn’t mean I will eat it if looks or smells moldy or nasty.
Who would you like to cook a meal for? Why?
All the people who come here to my restaurant — they are all special to me.
What is your most essential cooking implement? Why?
All the utensils and the La Monferrina pasta machine I brought here from Italy.
What is your favorite TV cooking show?
I know nothing about the TV chefs. If you want a nice show come to my kitchen when it’s busy.
What would you like to be doing if you weren’t a chef?
I don’t know, maybe it’s about all your life you have a dream. You have to be direct and cooking is mine
What annoys you most in the kitchen?
A dirty kitchen. A kitchen must be nice and clean and organized
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
My job — the creative part!