In the Kitchen with Chef Tony Marchetto
In the Kitchen
May 28, 2014
Growing up in a very culinary-driven household and beginning a career at one of the best farm-to-table restaurants in St. Louis, Cardwells at the Plaza, Chef Tony Marchetto has long had a passion for cooking. Marchetto’s familiarity with local and sustainable produce and product led him to his dream job at Prasino, where he has been since 2013. Prasino, which means “green” in Greek, is based on a concept of sustainable dining. We talked to Marchetto about the importance of local sourcing, green design and eco-friendly kitchen practices.
What is the main focus of your cooking?
Prasino encourages an atmosphere of community and fun while enjoying an amazing meal. We make sure this shows in our cooking. We create dishes that people genuinely want to eat while putting our own spin on things. The ability to be creative goes a long way. We don’t serve people something we don’t get excited about ourselves. Many of the dishes we serve can easily be shared which keeps things fun for our guests. It’s engaging when people share meals and get to talk about what they love the most about it. Our goal is to always make sure they love everything about it and leave wanting more.
Is there a particular nutritional focus of your menus?
Nutrition is always in the back of our minds. Of course everyone has to really treat themselves sometimes but it’s satisfying to enjoy something delicious knowing you’re not putting anything harmful into your body. We’re all about not using preservatives, keeping things fresh, and giving our guests a variety of creative healthy options.
What is your relationship with local farmers?
There are so many local farmers doing great things in Missouri and Illinois and we make it a priority to build relationships with them. Crop Circle is one of our favorite local farms to work with. There are also credible suppliers that source local and organic produce making it easier for us to get larger quantities of the ingredients we use most. Our guests live close to many of these farms and know the quality of the produce we can get right here so utilizing that means a lot to us and to our customers. They know where their food comes from.
What are the major concerns today of your readers when it comes to eating on the go? And how are you addressing them?
Especially during lunch and off times, people are forced to eat things that are quick and easily accessible. Many of those things are not healthy and not the best quality. We have a boxed lunch menu for our local businesses who want something quick and health conscious for their lunch meetings and this is really taking off. We also take a lot of call in orders for lunch. It’s quicker than fast food because you come in and we have it ready for you with a smile.
How important is sustainability?
Every choice we make, from our food to our restaurant design to our kitchen facilities, reflects our respect for a sustainable environment. Our priority is serving hormone/antibiotic-free meats, sustainable seafood, organic produce and eggs. Sustainability is just as important to our staff as it is our customers.