New Executive Chef Marco Fossati, a self-described ‘crazy Italian’ has big plans for the Four Seasons
“I went on Tuscany vacation. I don’t know if you’ve saw “Chefs Table,” season six, there is Dario Cecchini, the butcher,” Chef Marco Fossati animatedly said.
He was explaining three new menu items at Remedy bar at the Four Seasons in Vail. At a recent tasting in the bar, Steven Teaver, the Four Seasons’ director of beverage, offered tequila pairings for each of Fossati’s dishes.
Fossati borrowed a recipe from master butcher Cecchini, whose Chianti butter was featured in season 6, episode 2 of the Emmy-nominated cinematic Netflix docuseries featuring world-renowned chefs. The butter doesn’t contain Chianti wine, but is actually is made from pork back fat. It’s so named because it comes from that region of Tuscany, where the wine style is also from.
“Yeah, I stole it, step by step, everything,” he joked.
He mixes the lard with vinegar and salt – an old-world preservation method – and flavors it with rosemary and garlic, spreads it over grilled sourdough and invites guests to top it with prosciutto.
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“That is not from Parma, it’s from Tuscany,” he said, pointing at the meat. It was only natural to keep regional foods together.
Other new menu items will include Spanish octopus served with pineapple, diced chorizo, lime-squid ink aioli and topped with grilled scallion, as well as a summery stone fruit salad with endive and pickled red onion, topped with a healthy mound of burrata cheese and an olive oil drizzle. Remedy’s menu, which is surely familiar to locals frequenting the hotel for apres ski, will be completely different in the near future.
Fossati recently assumed the role of Executive Chef at the Four Seasons in Vail. Since starting about a month ago, Fossati’s efforts to elevate the menu at both Flame restaurant and Remedy bar – and Remedy’s soon-to-be completed new kitchen – have illuminated his passions: using food for creativity and for connecting with people.
Fossati learned to cook from a young age from his mother and his Grandmother Teresa. Born and raised in the Italian Riviera, half of his family is Piemontese in the north. Growing up, he wanted to be a heart surgeon, but his father recognized how much his son loved to cook before he himself did. So, his father enrolled him in culinary school.
“It was love,” he put it simply.
Schooling appeared to be crucial; Fossati remembers the first dish he ever made, a plate of spaghetti, with about 3 times as much olive oil as tomato. His father took one look at it and said, “man, I love you so much, but I can’t eat that.”
From there, Fossati established a resume full of positions at Four Seasons. He started at the Four Seasons in Milan, and has worked at locations in Egypt, Hong Kong, Italy and California. His culinary career has also brought him to France, the U.K. and Germany. While working in London, he was part of a kitchen crew that served the engagement party for Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981.
As soon as he arrived in Vail, Fossati’s first order of business was updating the house recipes for marinara and pizza dough. He is, after all, a self-described “crazy Italian.”
One of the things he’s most excited about in Vail is the team of chefs he’s working with.
“I love growing people,” he said. “How to cut an onion or butcher a chicken, I can teach you that. But the passion and the creativity, I can’t teach that. But I’m very excited because I have a team that is hungry, which is rare.”
Given the fact that he’s spent more than three decades in the culinary industry, he’s big on learning through experience, and finding success through passion. He hopes to mentor his team through challenges, and provide opportunities to learn and succeed in the kitchen.
Fossati also loves that Vail is an outdoor town. An avid runner, tennis player and biker, Fossati’s looking forward to learning how to ski and jetting down the mountain with his wife and 5-year-old daughter.
“I’m not done. I’m 49 now, and I kind of really like Vail,” he said, knocking on wood.
He hopes he can pass on what he’s learned through food and his career to his daughter.
“It is so amazing and so many mistakes, but I would do it again. I want her to grow up and explore and learn languages – that’s the most beautiful experience you can have,” he said. “It’s not only in culinary, but in every type of job. If there is creativity, if there is passion, everything come easy.”