Marcello Stancampiano: The Zen Guru
Updated: Mar 6, 2022
Carminio | Milan
Like a buddha of chefs, Chef Marcello Stancampiano’s refers to his style of cooking as “cucina sincera" and like the mood in his kitchen, he is refined, balanced, and straightforward.
More a meditative space than a typical kitchen, classical music plays while he works. A true Sicilian gentleman, Chef Stancampiano began cooking on his family’s boat in the south until he went to University to study architecture at the Instituto Europeo di Design in 1983. His technical hand and artistic training comes through in his dishes. He loves to mentor young chefs and is passing on his legacy for creating dishes that feed your mind, body and soul.
"I discovered the kitchen as a kid on my family's sail boat. My older sisters were not able to stay below deck while we navigated nor at anchor so they taught me how to make my first tomato and basil sauce speaking through the hatch."
CGC: How would you describe your cooking style?
MS: Honest Mediterranean food; good products without complications. 100% Italian olive oil and no butter, cooking with what the season offers. The vegetables don´t ever need to be cooked for a long time.
CGC: If you could cook for anyone in the world who would it be?
MS: I would like to chat with the Dalai Lama, probably in front of a plate of pasta al pomodoro, I would like him to grant me some of his calm and wisdom - I´m not a Buddhist just interested in the culture. In the restaurant kitchen, during the working hours, there is always a lot of stress and confusion.
CGC: What’s your favorite kitchen tool?
MS: In addition to the knives that are absolutely necessary, I can´t go without good blender and my marble mortar and wooden pestle.
CGC: Do you have a guilty food pleasure?
MS: I love pork liver or - foie gras. Even though it makes me feel bad to see how the poor geese are fed to be fattened, I can't resist it!
CGC: What is always in your kitchen at home?
MS: True olive oil 100% ITALIAN, all vegetables, and naturally basil and mint.
CGC: When you want to make something simple, quick, and good, what do you make?
MS: Wheat pasta al pomodoro with basil and mint and the eggplant in the oven.
CGC: Any upcoming projects/collaborations?
MS: I'm writing a book that talks about how beans and vegetables in season will be our only future food resources and give my tips on how to cook them.
CGC: Where in the world is the best place to eat, why?
MS: London and New York! The world moves from these two cities and brings along a huge food and wine culture. The best chefs have always had experience in these two cities.
CGC: When you think about your childhood, what food comes to mind?
MS: The fried balls of sweet ricotta wrapped with sugar and cinnamon of my wonderful Aunt!
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