Born in 1988, Marco Zampese grew up in Marostica, a small town in the province of Vicenza in Northern Italy. He was surrounded by fresh, seasonal produce from an early age – his grandparents were farmers making charcuterie, cheese, olive oil, fruits and vegetables. His parents continue some of these traditions today, swapping produce with friends. Marco developed a strong sense for the quality of local produce and how to treat ingredients respectfully.
This upbringing led him from school straight to catering college, ‘Giuseppe Maffioli’ in Castelfranco, one of the few hospitality schools in the Veneto region. He studied there for five years, completing the course aged 19.
His father, a doctor, encouraged Marco to continue his academic studies. He read “Science and Culture of Gastronomy and Catering” at the University of Padua. He learnt the economy behind opening a restaurant, food microbiology, the story of agriculture and nutrition, the art of front of house and operations and many other subjects. Whilst studying, he also dedicated time to his greatest passion – the kitchen. On some occasions, he worked in five different restaurants in the same week, and he also catered for global events such as The Winter Olympics in Vancouver, The World Aquatics Championships and the World Cycling Championship following the Italian professional Cycling Team.
In 2012, after graduation, a chance phone call from a friend and the lure of London’s dynamic restaurant scene saw him travel to the UK to work at 1 Michelin star Wild Honey in Mayfair. He intended London to be the first stop on his global travels; however, he quickly flourished and developed as a chef under Anthony Demetre’s tutelage. He was promoted to Sous Chef after just six months and thrived in the fast-paced, detail-focused Michelin kitchen.
Next, Marco was looking for a new challenge, and Demetre kindly suggested he consider Hélène Darroze’s London restaurant. After a successful trial, he started working at Helene’s two Michelin starred restaurant ‘Helene Darroze at The Connaught’ in January 2014, joining the team of Alex Dilling (at the time Head chef). He rapidly climbed the culinary ranks, was promoted to Junior Sous Chef after just few months, then Sous Chef and became Head Chef in 2018. In 2021, Marco was Executive Chef when Hélène Darroze at The Connaught was awarded three Michelin stars in the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland.
Marco excels under Helene’s guidance and found a synergy with her passion for sourcing the finest ingredients and forging long-lasting relationships with suppliers. Their shared philosophy draws on Marco’s childhood, of fresh, seasonal produce celebrated and treated with respect.
Marco has been working 9 years alongside Helene, mainly in London at The Connaught but also supporting Helene on new openings like Helene Darroze at Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian (Spain) on 2017 where he was the Head chef for a 5 months pop up restaurant, on the reopening in 2019 of her main restaurant in Paris, Marsan awarded 2 michelin stars in 2021, on the openings of her new restaurant Helene Darroze a Villa la Coste in Provence in 2021 awarded 1 michelin star, and supporting her in many other projects around the Globe.