Naples-born Marco Corsica has been surrounded by authentic Italian food since before he knew how to walk. We sat down with the chef to discuss London’s obsession with Italian cuisine, and how he maintains authenticity within his menus
There’s no denying it, London, as a city, is obsessed with Italian cuisine. Many of 2023’s latest restaurant openings have been of an Italian nature, from Covent Garden’s Luci, to Big Mamma Group’s latest offering, Jacuzzi. But with some 2000 Italian restaurants around the capital, according to Luce E Limoni, is it getting harder to find authentic Italian dishes in an oversaturated market? We spoke to Marco Corsica, Naples-born Head Chef of Bocconcino, to find out how he creates an authentic menu inspired by his childhood.
What inspired you to become a chef?
Growing up in Napoli, I had an uncle who was a chef, and I definitely think that played a significant part in my career path. I would often watch him cook spectacular dishes for the big family meals being hosted, watching as he prepared the ingredients with skill, and of course, tasting the final dish and being inspired to cook myself! Being a chef, particularly an Italian one, opens many doors in terms of travel and work opportunities, so I’ve had the pleasure of working in many cities and countries, which has been a real honour.
What’s your earliest food memory?
A Sunday morning in my early years. I fondly remember my mother cooking an Italian feast for the whole family — it still, to this day, brings me so much joy. Typical Napoli dishes include rustic pizzas, minestrone napoletano, buffalo mozzarella, mussel soup and frittatina napoletana (a pasta omelette) — the queen of Neapolitan street food.
After studying in Italy, what made you want to move to London to pursue a career in cooking?
I stayed in Italy for a while after culinary school, further developing my experience in regional cuisine. I was first inspired to move to London when I was in Rome, and I read an article about Marco Pierre White. Seeing the passion and success of Marco really inspired me to develop my English and move to London in the hope of being able to work with such great chefs — and it happened!
Through a lot of hard work and determination, I managed to get the opportunity to work closely with Marco himself, learning first-hand from the master. My plan originally was to stay in London for just a few years, but after a short time I’d fallen in love with the city, set up roots and I’m happy to be a part of this wonderful food industry.
How did you find working alongside incredible chefs such as Marco Pierre White?
Marco taught me many lessons throughout our time together, but what stuck with me the most was when he would say “Do everything, even the smallest of tasks, with the right attitude and always with passion.” I was always taught to work to the highest standards, and now every plate that leaves my kitchen is the best it can possibly be and consistent across the board.
Growing up in Italy, you must have pretty high standards for the Italian food you eat in London, as well as the food you create at the restaurants you work in. How do you ensure authentic tastes, and that everything is up to scratch?
Italian food in London is more popular than ever, and in order for me to maintain authenticity throughout the menu, I always ensure the highest quality of produce is used. Teamed with the right passion and effort, this is where true authentic Italian flavours come from.
Bocconcino stands out from the competition due to our consistently high standards, focus on customer satisfaction and passion for Italian-sourced flavours.
What’s your personal favourite Italian dish?
I was brought up very traditionally in Napoli, so being a picky eater was never an option! As a result, I genuinely enjoy every dish we have. While I don’t have a ‘favourite’ dish, I do have favourite ingredients, such as fresh seafood and vegetables…Italians know how to do fish and vegetables. It’s impossible to get tired of Italian food!