Wine & Food Festival Chef Spotlight: Marco Criscuolo

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The flavors of Italy shine in chef Marco Criscuolo’s cooking at Andrea at Pelican Hill. Growing up in Puglia, a region in Southern Italy, Criscuolo learned from the best master: his mother, who taught him how to prepare traditional dishes with love and respect for each ingredient. After professional training at Italy’s Istituto Alberghiero Cesare Braico in Brindisi and a decade of experience in kitchens around the world, he arrived at Pelican Hill to become head chef at Andrea Ristorante.

“My cooking style merges tradition, innovation and new cooking techniques, while respecting fresh and local ingredients to create inspired Italian cuisine,” the chef says.

Though locals can taste Criscuolo’s cuisine any night of the week at the resort’s fine dining restaurant, attendees at the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival will be treated to his authentic Italian flavors in the Grand Tasting Pavilion on Sunday, Oct. 4.

While the chef is keeping tight-lipped about specific dishes he’s preparing—he does promise “seasonal ingredients” will be in use—he’s happy to answer a few questions from Newport Beach Magazine before the festival’s arrival Oct. 2.



Photo by Jody Tiongco
Photo by Jody Tiongco

What is your comfort food?

Homemade pasta and focaccia bread, especially my mother’s


What is your current favorite ingredient to work with?

Fresh figs from our local Irvine Ranch, which are in season for just for two months a year during the late summer. I feature them in many dishes before they’re gone for another year.


Three most important cooking tools?

My set of Japanese knives, which I bought during a culinary visit in Japan; my chitarra for making pasta (a guitar frame strung with music wires, used to cut fresh dough into strands); and a thermo circulator (also known as sous vide) for cooking food in vacuum-sealed pouches submerged in a water held at a precisely controlled temperature.


What did you make for dinner last night?

Spaghetti with garlic, olio e peperoncino, topped with fresh Santa Barbara sea urchin


Name one famous figure you’d most like to cook for.

Roberto Benigni, the Italian actor, director and producer of Oscar Award-winning film “La Vita é Bella”




22701 Pelican Hill Rd. South, Newport Coast





—Written by Allison Hata



Newport Beach Magazine is a sponsor of the 2015 Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival.


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