Arnold Marcella- The Chef / Beverage Director
Why cooking as a career?
There’s a mysterious sense of theatre that has attracted me to this industry, but ultimately, it’s the human connection and instant gratification. The moments when you see customers smile, or find themselves reminded of a childhood moment – this is what brought me into the kitchen and keeps me cooking.
Two biggest influences on your career?
My mother without a doubt. I grew up in a house where we cooked and ate as a family every day. It was incredibly important to my development. Paul Liebrandt was also important. We worked together for many years, so he has influenced how I view food, cook, and work.
Best early kitchen experience?
Working in a small mountain town called Squaw Valley in California. It was simple, honest cooking free from social media, online reviews, and superficial values. We worked with local farmers and amazing fresh product. The flavors were heartfelt, simple, and thoughtful.
Worst kitchen experience?
Brunch service, all of them everywhere. Customers tend to be demanding, impatient, rude, drunk, and/or hungover from an indulgent Saturday night out.
Best meal you’ve ever had?
Breakfast at Tsukiji market in Japan, early winter. Sitting down with market workers, eating fresh fish, miso soup, and hot bowl of rice covered in Uni; yes please.
- Use quality ingredients thoughtfully sourced
- Flavor first, food should satisfy your hunger with a sense comfort when you’re done eating
- Proper cooking technique
- Be creative with flavorful purpose
- Be mindful of how your customers eat; proportions, plating locations, utensils…
- Presentation, cook for you customers not their instagram feed
- Teach my staff something every day
- Learn something from them everyday.
What’s your signature dish?
Bunker’s house-made squid pasta dish. It combines my love and background in Italian cooking with local seafood and flavors reminiscent a Northern curry.
Cooking by Hand, Paul Bertolli
Most difficult ingredient to cook with?
Lavender, one too many flower buds and your dish tastes like a bar of soap.
How do you keep in touch with latest food trends?
Food trends are built on commercially driven marketing that rarely has anything to do with good food or good ingredients; just go to your nearest mall food court and look for the line.
Have you ever created an entirely new dish?
In my opinion, there are only a handful of chefs in the last 100 years who can truly lay claim to such a statement. We are cooking food not curing cancer. Its like the Vanilla Ice vs David Bowie debate; is it really a new?
Greatest achievement to date?
Jay-Z, Beyonce, Wes Anderson, Robert DeNiro Harvey Keitel, Woody Allen, Philippe Petit, The Beastie Boys, Maxwell, Lauren Hill, Bill Clinton, many other celebrities, chefs, and politicians.
Who would you like to cook for?
Andre 3000, Arnel Pineda, Radiohead.
Utensils you can’t do without?
Small off-set metal spatula.
Music you listen to while cooking?
Hall & Oates, AC/DC, Outkast, Jay-Z.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t be a chef, hahaha.
What’s your favorite dish to cook for yourself?
Dry Spaghetti, garlic, chili, extra virgin olive oil, lemon, parsley.
What’s tastier - Italian rice or Thai rice?
Thai rice, it comes in many more varieties and textures that carry much richer aromas and flavors than most Italian varieties. However, Italian rice dishes derive much of their flavour from the ingredients rather than the rice itself.
Favorite dish cooked by someone else?
Pastrami on Rye at Katz Deli NYC.
Which restaurant above all others would you like to work for?
El Bulli in the late 80s.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
Dream job, Champion F1 racecar driver. Reality, Sommelier or wine maker.
What’s next for you?
I’m focusing more on Filipino flavors and including them on the menu at Bunker. Exploring my heritage and allowing those flavors to shine in my cooking is new for me, at least outside of my home.
Chef in focus
■ Born and raised in New York City, Chef Arnie, a Filipino-American, was classically trained in Europe, opened and worked in top New York establishments and spent a year in Italy where he not only mastered the art of pasta making, but committed himself to the Slow Food movement.
His work experience includes the three Michelin stars Jean-Georges, as well as five other Michelin-starred restaurants. His passions are Japanese food, Thai food and revisiting classic Filipino cuisine.
Cuisine: Contemporary American, Location: 118/2 Soi Suksa (North Sathorn 12) Bangkok 10500
Hours of Operation: Everyday 5:30 pm - 12 am, Tel: +66 2 234 7749, Reservation: +66 92 563 9991 (from 2PM – 10PM)