Meet the chef: Marino Colombo, Cap Des Falco

Cap des Falco - Chef Marino Colombo

Photography by Ana Lui

You could say Italian chef Marino Colombo was a bit of a late bloomer, making the career switch from corporate to kitchen at the wisened age of 50. After successfully setting up and running his own vegetarian restaurant in Genova for eight years, the tide turned in 2007 and Ibiza’s Cap Des Falcó was calling…

What inspired you to become a chef?
I’d always been very passionate about cooking, food and wines but I was working in information technology for a multi-national company. I was traveling around Europe and the United States for work, so had the opportunity to taste so many different types of cuisine, and I was also cooking at home as a hobby. When I left the company due to a huge restructure, I simply decided to become a professional chef! So I am not young, but in terms of being a restaurateur, I still have the passion and enthusiasm of a young cook.

How did you come to work at Cap Des Falcó?
In 2007, the previous owner of Cap Des Falcó invited me out here with the idea of doing something similar to my vegetarian restaurant in Genova. It didn’t ever happen, but I started working here anyway because being able to make traditional Italian dishes here, and using authentic Italian ingredients is great. After moving to some other restaurants in 2008, I came back as head chef this year.

How do you describe your style in the kitchen?
I learned very quickly about the difference between cooking at home and cooking professionally – the stress and time pressures. At home, I always found cooking so relaxing. Nowadays I still go home and cook to relax, but the difference here is that you also have to coordinate other people’s work. I would like to be a superman and be able to do everything on my own because the kitchen here is not big, but nevertheless, I can’t!

What is your signature dish?
I have a special salad dish prepared with Hijiki seaweed. It’s imported from Japan, and very strong in flavour – not the kind of seaweed you find in sushi! I mix it with finely chopped almonds, parsley and spring onions, and season with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. It looks gorgeous because of the contrast of colours and served with scallops, it tastes even better.

What’s your own favourite food?
Everything! I love to try all cuisines when I am abroad and eat everything locally recommended and so far I have never found anything I don’t like.

What are your favourite restaurants in Ibiza?
Well, unfortunately, I never get to experience the very best and most famous restaurants in Ibiza because I’m working when they are open, and then in the winter when I get time off, they are closed.

What do you like the most about living in Ibiza?
I have to admit, I came here originally for work and not pleasure, but now I like the wintertime the best – when I am not working! Obviously summer is better from a working point of view, and I love the restaurant, the beautiful setting and views and the people, but in terms of nature, I prefer winter.