Marco Parizzi: The Businessman
Updated: Mar 6, 2022
Drogheria Parini | Milano
Restauranteur, entrepreneur and seasoned celebrity chef, Marco Parizzi is a man with a plan.
Chef Parizzi has continued his family’s legacy that started with a trattoria in Parma and is growing it into a delicious empire.
Meticulously organized and labeled, his kitchen has a commercial feel with an entrepreneur’s spirit. Lately, he has been consulting at the newly opened Drogheria Parini, where City Girl caught up with him in the kitchen, using the same products you can find in the adjacent market, underground in a chic, brick cantina, Parizzi keeps things simple with carefully chosen ingredients giving classic Milanese dishes a contemporary look that you’ll want to hurry home and cook yourself. He is an everyday renaissance man with a keen business sense.
CGC: How would you describe your cooking style? What is your approach to cooking?
MP: I have a very open mind about cooking. I love to adapt my cooking style to the concept I develop. Here at Parini, in Milan, we’re trying to do something genuine. We want to work with raw elements that have a vintage feel. For example the dish that symbolizes Milan, risotto Milanese with ossobuco, we serve separately, with a simple and stylish presentation. I'm very simple though, I wanna do things that are real and authentic.
CGC: What is the difference between cooking on television and cooking in the kitchen?
MP: The main difference is that on TV you have a time constraint, you have a specific time to finish, so you have to make something simple, you can´t work with long preparations. On TV I normally have 20 minutes.
CGC: How did you become a chef?
MP: My grandfather started this tradition with a family restaurant. We’ve had the restaurant since 1948, after Second World War. My life started in a restaurant so I guess it makes sense that I'm a chef.
CGC: If you could cook for anyone in the world who would it be?
MP: I don't know, I love to cook for people that believe in me, for example, on the last day of the year I do a menu that nobody knows what I´m going to do - nobody - not my wife nor the waiter. People come and pay, believing in my kitchen. I love this. But I think I would like to cook for Gisele, we could cook together…
CGC: When you want to make something simple, quick, and good, what do you make?
MP: Normally when you want to cook something quick and good you have to use high quality products. When you have good products you don't have to work a lot.
CGC: Who is your role model?
MP: Maybe Alain Ducasse, he's amazing because he's a chef and an entrepreneur, I love this because it's open. He’s worked in the US and understands what they want.
CGC: What was your greatest achievement as a chef? Your greatest disaster?
MP: I remember there was an evening in my restaurant, I was not a chef at the time, but I dropped a tub of chocolate on the floor. My greatest achievement, is that I am doing something greater than my father. My grandfather had a little trattoria, my father turned it into a great restaurant, and now I have a great restaurant, a hotel, a cooking school, and I’m on tv…
CGC: What is something people should know about you?
MP: I'm very honest and genuine but maybe rude, not so polite, I love to be myself. If I don't like someone they'll know right away.
CGC: Any upcoming projects/collaborations?
MP: Right now I'm on this project for Parini. It’s not just about the restaurant but the food. Everything I do here you can do yourself at home with the ingredients we sell in the market. I don’t want to do something complicated. I want to produce a format I can export. I want to have one, five, ten Parini’s in the world and everything you’ll find here is the best you can find in Italy.
CGC: What advice do you have for aspiring chefs?
MP: Before you can be a chef, you have to be a cook. The problem now is that everybody wants to be a chef, but a chef of what? Chef means “boss”, if you're the chef of yourself you're not a boss, you're yourself. These guys have to be really great cooks and have the people believe in them. With these things, they can become a chef. It's very hard to be a chef because you have to be an example, you have to be the first to arrive and the last to leave, you have to be the fastest at work.
CGC: What artist/designer/musician inspires you?
MP: I love design as concept, form.. I love art. You’ll find modern art also in my restaurant.
CGC: What do you like to do in your spare time?
MP: I travel, the world is big and I want to see as much as I can. I think I love the traveling more than the place.
CGC: When you think about your childhood, what food/dish comes to mind?
MP: I love pasta with tomatoes.
CGC: If you could have any designer create chef whites for you, who would it be?
MP: Giorgio Armani, I think he’s the most elegant designer in the world.
Creator and Host: City Girl, Melissa Lupo
Photography and Art Direction: Simone Martucci
Styling : Michael Peter Dye
Production Assistant: Camila Salles