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Marco De Cecco. From Buttrio (Italy) to Kuala Lumpur

After your technical studies following the footsteps of your father you “veered” following the passion for another kind of “constructions”: what determined this choice? 

After completing my studies in Civil Engineering,I came to a point where I wanted to follow my real passion which is culinary. I decided to live my life by doing what makes me happy. 

The TRATTORIA DE CECCO in Buttrio has been your grandmother’s kingdom, how do you sum up your memory? Which image you remember most effectively? 

I have a very nice memory of my Grandma, her talent and her simplicity has been the perfect matching. The most important memory of her is the HOME MADE BREAD, I still remember the aroma when was just baked. 

Have you always had the feeling that this familiar contamination would have one day determined your professional choice? Yes

Your kitchen incorporates the Italian tradition, revisiting the tastes of your customers and adapting it to the climate. What do you prepare when you feel homesick?
I love to prepare potato gnocchi because I can find the ingredients easily.

Is it challenging to import Italian quality products? What would you like to have in your kitchen and what time - due to regulations - can not be used?
We can find Italian products here, however there are not many being used due to less request for certain dishes. But of course by sharing more knowledge and exposing to many Italian dishes, we can increase the demand which will also allow us to have more Italian products.

It is estimated that the Italian false business exceeds the true one. What can be done to protect the true Italian taste and authentic products?
During my career I came across many products with names that recall Italy even if of different origins. In my opinion, the best way to protect Italianness is to spread knowledge or organize events where the original ingredients are explained. I would like to organize an event here, involving the various institutions and the various trade associations. If the producers will be also present during the events, they could touch the foreign market.

Does your clientele know anything about Italy? Was the majority in Italy? do they know our region?
In Kuala Lumpur, the public has vast knowledge of different cultures as well as the food. The knowledge level and experience varies. Being a Chef in Prego, The Westin Kuala Lumpur, I look forward to share more stories, knowledge and experience about Italy to the guests. Engaging with guest is my favourite routine and listening to their experience while in Italy makes me feel like a home.

What is meaning to be a part of a important group like The Westin KL? How much effort and dedication you dedicate to your work
It means a lot to me to be part of The Westin Kuala Lumpur family. This is my first hotel experience and I am excited to explore what lays ahead in this industry. The team in Prego is very warm and of different culture from mine. I hope to transfer all the good knowledge to the team about Italy and its food and culture. Together we will enhance the outlet in bringing the Italian Restaurant concept to a better level and embrace the beautiful culinary change to provide
guest with authentic Italian experience. If one can’t go to Italy, they can experience Italy in Prego, The Westin Kuala Lumpur.

Which are your project for the future of Prego Kuala Lumpur
First I From Buttrio need to say thank you to all the team are supporting me to keep Prego at a very high quality standard. I’ll give to Prego Kuala Lumpur the spirit of the warm hospitality my grandmother transfer to me. A big part of the menu will be home made. We started the Italian Afternoon Tea and, because I’m thinking an event done together with my region will be very important I hope we can find the way to collaborate.


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