Zafferano & Co. Friends: Marcello Russodivito
was born in Campobasso
– the capital city
of the Italian region
of Molise. His family
originates from Riccia
which is one of the
largest towns of the
province where he
spent his infancy
Born the youngest of five children, after the
sudden death of his father, he began working
in restaurants when he was just 13 years old.
At the age of 14, he traveled to study at the
“Hotel Institute of Montecatini Terme” in
Tuscany for three years until he graduated.
To improve and refine all that he learned,
Marcello worked the next six years around
the world to perfect his culinary talent in
Switzerland, Germany, France, England and, finally, in Bermuda. In Bermuda he met his wife, Carolyn, and they both moved back to the United States. Here he perfected his art, working for some of the most famous restaurants in New York and New Jersey. This experience led him to understand what the American customer wants and expects from a good restaurant. In 1986, Marcello realized his dream as a chef and opened his first restaurant in Suffern, Rockland County – New York State. In 1992, Marcello appeared on the “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee Show” preparing his most loved recipe for “Tiramisù.” In 1993, Zagat appointed Marcello’s Ristorante as “One of the 50 best restaurants in the Tri-State area.” “Crain’s New York Business“ ranked Marcello’s Ristorante as “one of the best Italian restaurants outside of Manhattan.”
In 1992, the American Academy of Restaurant Sciences chose Marcello’s Ristorante for its “Best
of the Best” Five Star Diamond Award as one of the top 50 Italian restaurants in the United States.
In 1994, Marcello participated in the inaugural event at the Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the mayor of the City of New York with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani residing for the’94 Soccer World Cup.In 1996, Marcello opened “Caffè Dolce”Trattoria, referring to the Italian and European tradition of meeting friends and hanging around over a bite to eat.On June 4, 1997, the Ministers of Agriculture and Foreign Trade in Italy awarded the “Insegna del Ristorante Italiano nel Mondo” to Marcello. This award is given to those who have demonstrated superior achievement in the culinary arts and have acted as “Goodwill Ambassadors” for promoting the Italian culture abroad.In June 1997, Marcello took part in the successful series organized by the James Beard Foundation, cooking in a fully-booked event at the James Beard House which is considered the“Carnegie Hall” of Culinary Arts.From 1998 to 2007, Marcello reopened the historic “Ho-Ho-Kus Inn” in Ho-Ho-Kus,New Jersey. This 257-year-old home boasted six elegant rooms where Marcello served his fine contemporary Italian cuisine.In 2005, Marcello published his first cookbook and wine guide entitled, “Sale, Pepe, Amore e Fantasia” (“Salt, Pepper, Love and Creativity”) with great success.In 2008, Marcello participated as a Food Consultant in the film “Lymelife,” directed by Derick Martini starring Alec Baldwin, Rory and Kieran Culkin, Jill Hennessy, Timothy Hutton,Cynthia Nixon and Emma Roberts. He was in charge of the food preparation for the scenes shot in the movie and even took part as a speaking actor in some scenes.In November 2009, still within an economic crisis, Marcello opened a casual restaurant in Nutley, New Jersey called “Mamma Vittoria,”dedicated in loving memory to his mother who recently passed away. Marcello’s mother shared his passion for great food and had an important influence on his culinary expertise.Marcello is currently a member of the Ciao Italian Association (Italian restaurants from all over the world with its headquarters based in Rome). With this Association, Marcello had the honor to meet three different Italian heads of State: president Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, Carlo Azeglio Ciampiand Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinale (the presidential palace) in Rome. Over the years, Marcello has been a major contributor of his talent as well as of his food to organizations such as “Taste of the Nation,” “Menu of Hope,” “ARC of Rockland,” “Good Samaritan Hospital” plus many others in need of help and support. Currently, in his Suffern location, Marcello continues to welcome and greet his customers always attentive to their questions or needs (a trademark he has developed over the years). Marcello’s special feature is his Chef Table and Cooking Demonstration Studio where customers can experience either cooking classes or have Marcello cook a private dinner party up to twelve people. Marcello is also a guest chef every Monday morning on radio RocklandWRCR AM 1300 from 8.45 am to 9.00 am – www.wrcr.com. In 2005, he filmed a video program for local television channels called “Brindiamo! A Toast to the Finest Italian Restaurants,” hosted by Ornella Fado, producer of the television show “Brindiamo.” In 2010 he participated with Ornella Fado, – www.Brindiamotv.com, in a cooking competition sponsored by the Hotel School Piemontese (IFSE – Italian Style Food Education – Culinary Institute) as a judge and instructor. The event was held at the Astor Place in NewYork. During the competition Marcello helped American students in the creation of special dishes made with Asti spumante. Again in New York with Ornella Fado – www.Brindiamotv.com – he participated in the Columbus Day parade on 5th Ave with Italian chefs representing the Italian cuisine in the USA. In November 2010, Marcello accepted the invitation of the “Virtual Group of Italian Chefs” (www.gvci.org or www.itchefs-gvci.com) and participated in the “Italian Cuisine Asia Summit” to promote Italian cuisine in Hong Kong (China). In 2011, again with the “Virtual Group of Italian Chefs” he participated in the “Pesto Day” an event that takes place every year to promote a regional Italian dish. In February 2011, with his partner Abe, he completed the expansion of the catering room of Mamma Vittoria in Nutley (N.J.) with great success.Marcello is currently working on a new cookbook with new recipes, the story of his 25 years of career in the U.S. as chef patron and much more.To celebrate the 25th anniversary of his restaurant of Suffern he is also organizing 2 concerts with various artists performing Italian classical music,opera and pop music at the Lafayette Theater,historic theater of the town.
Company - Restaurant: Marcello's Restaurant
Location: Suffern - New York