9 Chef Bites: Alfred Marku - Into Albania

9 Chef Bites: Alfred Marku

The head chef of Rapsodia, perhaps the most popular restaurant in Albania, Alfred Marku has redefined Albanian cuisine. When he left for Italy at the tender age of fifteen, Marku had no idea how the move would completely alter his life. He returned to Albania with a profession that would rank him as one of the best chefs and most successful entrepreneurs in the country. Today, as his life has taken the shape he had always envisioned, this is what chef Alfred Marku has to say about the profession he loved at first sight.

1. How would you describe your cooking style in three words

Tradition, earth and life.
This because the way I cook is an interweaving of tradition, what the earth offers us and life, which we must endow with those colors and aromas that let us enjoy it.

2. The one tool you cannot do without in the kitchen

Fire! Without it, I cannot cook. Everything else I can accomplish even without tools.

3. Your favorite dish to cook at home

Food is like love, there can only be one. A chef falls in love every moment he cooks. Nevertheless, I have a soft spot for one dish and that is “spaghetti alla carbonara”.

Some dishes cooked by Chef Alfred Marku. Photo by IntoAlbania.

4. Your favorite restaurant in Albania

Albania has seen enormous progress in the sphere of gastronomy. This is a beautiful and wonderful thing. A restaurant must offer something that encourages one to visit it. I take special pleasure in visiting any restaurant that has built a strong identity, uses local offerings and respects the profession of a chef

5. The best gastronomic destination in Albania

I love all the different cuisines of Albania. The way we cook and serve our food here is something that truly differentiates us from others. I love my country immensely and that is why I choose Lezha as the best destination.

6. What relaxes you

When I cook and when I work, cooking is the only thing that relaxes me. 

7. What does your staff call you when you are all working 

When I worked in Italy, they would call me “il cuoco pazzo” (“the crazy chef”). My true aim as a chef is to realize those “impossible” tastes. It is the challenge that guides me. I am sure that when they talk about me in professional circles, they call me crazy. But, when I am present, all I hear is “Yes, chef!”

Alfred Marku at his workplace. Photo courtesy of Alfred Marku.

8. The food that makes you feel guilty after you have eaten it

I like this one! I just love “bread and meatballs” (a traditional Albanian fast food) and, truth be told, I’m embarrassed to buy it myself so I always send someone to get it for me. 

9. If you were not a chef, what other profession would you most likely have 

I think profession is love at first sight. I have many passions, like music. I like to work the land. I think I would have loved to work with it more. I believe that each person who does his job passionately, falls in love with it as he begins feeling all the emotion and adrenaline.

By: IntoAlbania

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