MC Kitchen chef Dena Marino
Dena Marino helms the kitchen at the Design District's recently opened MC Kitchen, creating ingredient-focused, rustic Italian dishes for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Coming up at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SoBe WFF), the Colorado native and Iron Chef alum will whip up a pork rillette cannoli dipped in cocoa fried rinds with an amarena cherry gravy for the Swine & Wine pork roast event (February 24). Joining her at The Biltmore for the roast will be host and fellow chef Michelle Bernstein, Goya Foods, and Pat LaFrieda Meats. Here we get insight on Marino's Swine & Wine dish, and her menu at MC Kitchen.
What inspired your pork cannoli dish for Swine & Wine?
DENA MARINO: South Beach Wine & Food Festival is all about celebrating culinary creativity, so we wanted to create a dish that was conceptual to the type of food MC Kitchen serves, but still playful. By creating the a pork rillette stuffed cannoli we were able to balance both sweet and savory, as well as use a majority of the pig. Our dish looks to achieve the perfect marriage of sweet, spicy, salty, and crunchy … all in a single bite!
How does your time spent in Colorado influence your cooking?
DM: We try to use certain products that we used in our other restaurants, which we've grown to know and love. We try to support small vendors, they don't have to be local, per se, but they have to be mindful and passionate about what they do. I can taste it and see it in their product. Speaking to taste, we also try to incorporate protein that speaks to Colorado and the Mountain West market. For instance, the venison we use for the Bolognese.
Any SoBe WFF events that you are looking forward to attending?
DM: I probably will not get to attend many— actually any—events, with the exception of the one I'm participating in of course. This is [MC Kitchen's] first year being open during the festival, so I want to be in the restaurant catering to the appetites.
Whose culinary style do you admire?
DM: There are many culinary styles that I admire. One is my mentor Michael Chiarello, but I also wildly respect Alice Waters, Mario Batali, and Eric Ripert.