Falling in love brought chef Fabrizio Crocette back to Phuket, and his dream job and beautiful family have kept him here since.
Chef Fabrizio is the head chef at Mare, the fine-dining Italian restaurant at Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket, in Karon.
Originally from Ravenna in the north of Italy, Chef Fabrizo came to Phuket on holiday three years ago. It was here he met his future wife, saleswoman Ao.
He moved to Phuket permanently one year later to marry Ao, and to establish the new Mare restaurant. The couple now have a one month-old son, Tommy.
Chef Fabrizio spent 15 years working in various Italian restaurants and has
now spent seven years working as head chef.
His style is “simple and traditional”, with the restaurant a more relaxed venue during the day, and “stepping it up” to fine dining in the evenings.
“I’m Italian, and everywhere we go we need to eat Italian food. We need our pizza, pasta, breads, wines and olive oils – it is in our blood.
“My kitchen is healthy, there is not so much fat or oil, and the food is not heavy.”
Chef Fabrizio says his talent is working successfully with a combination of flavours. For example, dishes that contain both fish and meat, or are salty and sweet, or spicy.
The restaurant has an open-plan kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining, and a large wine cellar. Service is efficient, with the layout meaning guests are able to watch their meals being prepared.
In November Chef Fabrizio introduced a dish of duck breast with wild berries and fruits (B820), and says it has become his signature.
“It is sweet, sour, and has a strong taste of duck.”
Another favourite on the menu is the carpaccio di manzo alla carbonara,
(B590) which surpirisngly has no pasta. The carbonara cream is instead served on Australian wagyu carpaccio.
In January 2010, Chef Fabrizio was an Italian finalist at the Valrhona Chocolate Competition, where he presented a brown sugar biscuit with salty caramel cream, and chocolate and coffee flavours.
His signature dessert dish at Mare is the variazione al limone (B250), made from lemon sherbert, frozen lemon, candied lemon skin and lemon foam.
“It’s all about the lemon – different consistencies and form, and it tastes very fresh.”
He was specially trained in desserts while working in Spain, but says the Italian food he likes cooking most is pasta.
“I think it is the most difficult dish to cook right.”
Mare Restaurant, Centara Grand Beach Resort, 683 Patak Rd, Karon Beach, 076-201-234, firstname.lastname@example.org; centarahotelsresorts.com