Interview: Marco Ferraro Gets the 10

There's something about Wish that seems to make culinary dreams come true, and its latest superstar, Executive Chef Marco Ferraro, appears to be skipping along the same path as a long line of extraordinary talent. First was Gary Robins, who eventually ended up at The Russian Tea Room, then came Andrea Curto-Randazzo, co-owner of Talula; followed by E. Michael Reidt, awarded Best New Chef by Food & Wine Magazine; and Rising Star Chef Michael Bloise, who, last we heard, was private cheffing for a wealthy family.

And Ferraro is no slouch, either. A graduate of The French Culinary Institute in New York, he perfected his technique at Mantel and Le Muscandin, the acclaimed Michelin two-star restaurant, before becoming a Jean-Georges Vongerichten protégée. He also fanned the flames as chef de cuisine at Jack's La Jolla, a Mobil four-star, before Jessica Goldman Srebnick discovered him, whisked him away, and unleashed him and his Mediterranean-inspired inspirations on Miami Beach. (Good thing he's so good in the kitchen because, as you'll discover below, he wouldn't make for much of a comedian.)

Not enough background for you? Check out NBC's interview, or eyeball Jacob Katel's photo essay. But first, check out he not-too-dirty little secrets we squeezed out of the guy:

New Times: If you weren't a chef, what would you be?

Marco Ferraro: I would definitely be a DJ. I already work nights so I think I could handle the hours.

NT: If you could serve a meal to any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be and what would you cook for him/her?

MF: Michael Jordan. He's been an idol of mine since I was a kid. I'd see what he likes to eat and do a tasting menu for him that would blow him away.

NT: What was your most embarrassing cooking-related moment?

MF: Years ago, I was personally serving an incredibly important VIP table of four people and when I went to place the plate in front of the guest, the food completely slid off the plate and -- splat -- right on the table. The only upside was it wasn't on the guest.

NT: What food/utensil/technique still confounds you?

MF: The Pacojet ice cream/sorbet spinning machine.

NT: What's your favorite food-/cooking-related joke?

MF: Q: What did Baby Corn say to Mamma Corn?
A: Where's Pop-corn?

NT: Which famous chef, alive or dead, would you like to shadow for a day (assuming you haven't already had the chance)?

MF: Chef Joël Robuchon.

NT: What is your dream culinary trip?

MF: Traveling throughout Asia and eating my way through the continent. It has such a rich, diverse and interesting food culture.

NT: What's the hottest thing a date could whip up for you in the kitchen?

MF: A delicious pasta dish. I was born and raised in Italy and [am] a total sucker for pasta.

NT: Why do you think restaurants are hotbeds for sexual activity/relationships?

MF: Food stimulates the palate and truly "speaks" to the senses: smell, taste, touch, etcetera. Also, let's be honest: Good food makes people happy and happy people are probably more in the mood for loving than unhappy people.

NT: How would you complete this sentence: Never trust a chef who/that...?

MF: Never trust a chef that looks dirty. Guaranteed they are dirty.

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Riki Altman