20 Questions with Benoit’s Alberto Marcolongo
In the Resy Questionnaire, we play a game of 20 questions with the industry folks behind some of our favorite restaurants. What’s your most memorable restaurant experience? Your favorite food movie? What restaurant would you want to time-travel for?
In this edition, we talk to Alberto Marcolongo, the executive chef at the Alain Ducasse bistro Benoit, a proper slice of France tucked in Midtown Manhattan.
The Resy Questionnaire
1. Favorite thing you’ve ever cooked?
My favorite dish to cook is spaghetti aglio, olio, e peperoncino. It reminds me of my childhood.
2. Kitchen tool or equipment you couldn’t live without?
I couldn’t live without a spoon — I’m always using it to taste everything in the kitchen.
3. What pantry items would you bring on a desert island?
Olive oil, piment d’Espelette, macadamia nuts (I love them), Jerez vinegar, and spaghetti, of course.
4. What’s your favorite place to get a slice in New York?
Village Square Pizza in the West Village.
5. Favorite cookbook?
Any books from chef Davide Oldani — he was the first chef I worked for and was my first mentor. He is a well-known Italian chef with two Michelin stars [at his restaurant in Milan, D’O], one green star, and more than 10 books.
6. Your drink of choice?
7. Favorite food movie?
Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
8. Your ideal dinner party guest, dead or alive?
9. What restaurant industry person do you admire the most?
Chef Alain Ducasse. He is a mentor and has always allowed me to express myself.
10. The greatest restaurant experience of your life so far?
The greatest restaurant experience I had was at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, because of all the details and the very attentive service.
11. Your greatest professional achievement?
I’ve always dreamed of becoming a chef for one of Alain Ducasse’s restaurants, so I feel proud that I’ve achieved that.
12. What single dish best describes your personality?
Spaghetti aglio, olio, e peperoncino — it’s simple but very tasty.
13. If you could go back in time, which restaurant would you dine at?
El Bulli, because when I was young, it was one of the top restaurants in Europe. It had always been a dream and a goal to visit and meet the chef there.
14. Your favorite meal from childhood?
Mushroom and hazelnut risotto.
15. Your wish for the restaurant industry?
100% (or close to 100%) sustainability reached by all restaurants.
16. What do you wish you did better? What do you do well?
Better: I wish I had more time to test and create new dishes and food combinations.
Well: I think I can say that I am attentive with my team and a good listener.
17. If you could eat through a city for a day, where would you go?
I would say New York City … but since I already live here, Singapore.
18. The one thing you can’t resist splurging on when you go out?
A good bottle of wine.
19. What do you value most in restaurants?
The relationship created between the client and the team, and the team’s relationship with each other.
20. It’s your last meal on earth, what are you eating?
A slice of pizza.