He may be young, but La Oliva Ibiza head chef Marc-Antoine Colonna knows his way around the kitchen like a seasoned professional, having grown up around chefs and cooking, studying in one of Paris’ most prestigious cooking schools and working in Michelin starred restaurants in France. After arriving in Ibiza just three years ago, he began work as a waiter in the iconic Dalt Vila restaurant but step-by-step made his way into the kitchen, where he clearly excels. Today, he serves up an array of exceptionally tasty meals every night and has created a menu brimming with flavour and flair – we went inside the kitchen to find out a little more!
Tell us about your background – what inspired you to become a chef?
I’ve always loved food, ever since I was young. My grandfather was a chef, and it inspired me to attend the famous French cooing school Ferrandi. The more I did it, the more I realised I really love this job… Before I was a chef I worked as a production assistant on a fashion magazine, but it was always the same… I much prefer being in the kitchen.
How do you describe your style in the kitchen?
We have a very good ambience here at La Oliva. I am very young, our team are all from France and I think it makes for a very good ambience, it’s cool. We all know what is required of us – if you have to work 15 hours, then you are prepared for it… we are always very busy but because we love the job it’s OK.
What is the style of cuisine at La Oliva?
We have a lot of different things – it is so varied! The main inspiration for the menu is Provençal, with Mediterranean influences and an international touch, but the main thing is that we always use the very highest quality produce. Rene (Salle, La Oliva founder and owner) is passionate about this. From freshly caught fish from Spain, high-quality Italian and French products, the very best meat and cheese, plus seasonal vegetables from the island’s best farms – it is so good and very easy to work with food that is this good!
What is your signature dish?
There are so many popular dishes at La Oliva, it’s hard to select just one as the most famous – but I find the most popular dishes are the ones that are also the most simple. For example, beef entrecote, the grilled scallop and prawns, the grilled cod with asparagus risotto… But my favourite to make is definitely the lamb shank.
And what is your own favourite food?
I really like Italian food and Asiatic food, especially sushi. This winter I would like to go to Tuscany to try and learn more about Italian food.
What are your favourite restaurants in Ibiza (aside from La Oliva of course!)?
Because I don’t have a lot of time in the summer to try new restaurants, I tend to always go to the same places, usually with French owners! I like El Soleado, Sa Punta and El Clodenis… all French! I do eat and cook a lot at home too, but less in the summer.
What do you like most about living in Ibiza?
The quality of life and the sun! I do a lot of sports, about an hour and a half a day – when you work 15 hours a day, you really need to do something else for balance, or you’d go crazy – and here in Ibiza I can run, swim, bicycle or play golf every day because the sun is always shining! And when it’s not… I can go to the gym!