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The French Pastry Chef Who Loves Kenyan Sukuma-Wiki And Motorbike Racing

written by Jeannette Musembi 18th March 2014

He is from an Italian background but born and brought up in France.  He is passionate about his work and tastes every item before it goes out to the public.  Super enthusiastic, yet very humble and charming character.

Who are we talking about? Pastry Chef Marco Matteucci from Crowne Plaza is baking up a fine storm at the Alabastar Lounge and we had to get him to tell Yummy a bit of himself…and of course where he gets his inspiration from.

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Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Marco Matteucci and I come from Lyon, France. I am 32 years old and by profession I am a pastry chef. I grew up and studied in a culinary school in France, thereafter I started working in different cities around the country and spent a lot of my time in the South of France before travelling abroad to work. After that I decided to take my skills and expertise to work in a hotel in Morocco as I wanted to also learn how to make Arabic desserts and pastries. Working and living there was a great experience as I made a lot of friends and managed to learn Arabic during my time there. Then I came to Nairobi 1 year ago to explore a new city and learn more about the Kenyan culture. I started working at Crowne Plaza Nairobi as it is an international brand and part of the prestigious Intercontinental Hotel group. It has been an enjoyable experience working here and sharing my skills with others.

 

When did your career with food begin?

It started 15 years ago in France. My 1st job was in a bakery, Cake City.

 

(Hey! Don’t we also have a cake city in Kenya?…moving on…)

 

How long have you been in the restaurant industry?

7 years ago. The first restaurant I worked at as a Pastry chef was a restaurant in Lyon.

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What inspired you to be a Chef?

I love creativity and trying out new flavour. Especially mixing and combining different flavours to make new and unique tastes in my work. I also love teaching and sharing my knowledge with others and being a chef involves working like this with others.

 

What is the best… and the worst dish you’ve tried?

My favourite cuisine is Italian food. My favourite dish would be seafood lasagne and Carbonara pasta. My worst dish would have to be jello.

Chef Marco’s mouthwatering creations

 

What is your favourite cuisine to cook?

I love to cook traditional French food. In specific I love making Grattin D’auphinoi and Bourguignon

 

What is the most essential item in your kitchen/ what’s your favourite kitchen tool?

The most essential is the whisk & palette knife and my favourite kitchen tool would also be a palette knife as you can do so many things with it.

 

What are your favourite newly discovered ingredient(s) in Kenya?

The ingredients available locally are also available in my Country. However, I have discovered Kale or also known as Sukuma Wiki! Which is also a new delicious addition to my cuisine now.

But I discovered a few nice drinks like Masala Tea and of course, Tusker which I really enjoy.

 

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What do you love most about working for Crowne Plaza Hotel Kenya?

It is one of the best and most high end hotels in Kenya and the management does a good job with the hotel. The staff that I work with are very friendly and very professional in their job.

 

What do you cook at home that you never cook at the restaurant?

Traditional French food which is what I also grew up eating.

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What do you consider to be your best creations, and what are the classics that you like to put on your menu?

My best creations are Sabayon Chocolate, Tiramisu, Raspberry & Lavender Macaroons and many others. The classics include Chocolate éclairs, Mille Feuille & Almond Tarts.

 

If you weren’t a chef, or in the food business, what would you be?

I would most likely be a Motorbike Racer or a culinary Pastry teacher

 

What have you learnt from your mother/grandmother that you use every day in the kitchen?

I have learnt from my grandmother how to differentiate tastes of food and appreciate the uniqueness of each taste

 

You’re stranded on a desert island. What five foods would you want with you? What would you make?

  1. Bolognese Pasta
  2. Tiramisu
  3. French Fries
  4. Chicken
  5. Pepper Steak

 

To sample some of Chef Marco’s delicious pastries..click HERE to make a booking at Alabastar Lounge

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