Meet the Man of Marinelli’s

Like many who have made careers in the kitchen, Mark Sandoval grew up cooking in the kitchen with his family. “My dad was a great cook and my inspiration. Many nights when we would all get home at the same time from work, athletics and school we were all hungry and it was all hands on deck. I learned food was a way to make others happy.” Now, as Room Chef at Marinelli’s, Sandoval revels in making guests happy.

What do you love about being a chef?

The instant gratification. I love being able to see people happy after they’ve tasted a dish we’ve prepared. I also like the rush when it gets busy. Some people shy away when it gets chaotic, I tend to like it.

What do you love about working at a four-star resort?

The M is beautiful – everything is well-kept and well-designed. I can’t remember ever working at a restaurant in Vegas that had such an incredible view from the kitchen. I also love the emphasis that is placed on service. You can’t have great food without great service.

Describe your cooking style.

I’m very laid back, hard working, passionate and earn the respect of my staff through hard work.  I work side by side with my team; when it’s busy I push them to do more then they knew they could.

Who inspires you as a chef and why?

Joel Robuchon. He strives for perfection in every dish and utilizes ingredients to their fullest potential to honor the ingredient. Thomas Keller is another. He utilizes only the freshest local ingredients and his passion and creativity in cooking is an inspiration.

What would you want for your last supper?

Roman Villa Pizza. It’s a restaurant in Colorado Springs where I grew up. The pizzas have been the same for more than 50 years and they still use the original deck oven from when they opened.  I love their pizza with mushrooms, olives and Italian sausage. We go every time we get back to Colorado.

What was your most memorable meal and why?

Aqua in San Francisco. My friend, Pete Armalino was the chef at the time. We sat at the bar and he cooked for us. Every plate was more amazing than the previous; the flavors, local ingredients, freshness, textures, and presentations we over the top. Best meal that I can remember.

What kitchen gadget can’t you live without?

My skimmer is one of my favorites. I use it for skimming the impurities from stocks and sauces; I pick them up at most all Asian food stores for very cheap.

Tell us about your favorite ingredient.

Bacon or other cured pork products like pancetta. Pork makes most every dish better.