Marco Tola is also called “the mysterious Instagram god of food art” by others. He himself does not like to be in the spotlight, but rather lets his dishes speak for themselves. These dishes are innovative, beautiful, colorful and distinct. All those dishes that he places on his Instagram account every day: Marco_Tola_ stand out worldwide. He is therefore rightly seen as the trendsetter in the field of food art. Originally, he has 140,000 followers on Instagram, who massively imitate his style around the world. You can still recognize his unique style from all the creations of others. He even gets recognition for his work from other famous chefs and people. Who is Marco Tola? We are curious about the man behind the beautiful pieces of food. This year I was allowed to interview him. Read more about my meeting with him.
Introduction to Marco Tola
A while ago I was allowed to do an interview with the Italian head chef Marco Tola. This man inspires me and many others through his food art. My first impression of him is that he comes across to me as a gentle, cheerful and kind man.
You can see the red thread through his life from his story. This is also his mission to make the world happy and to be inspired with his beautiful dishes. First of all, he talks so passionately about what he loves to do and that is being creatively with food. Secondly, his drive to reach his goal. Third, the unconditional love for his family when he talks about them. His wife, who supports him in everything he does and his two daughters, who are creative just like their father. Finally his modesty when others compliment him on his wonderful work. This makes him pure, genuine and special as a person.
By the way, did you know that Marco Tola did not follow a culinary school? I was really surprised when I heard this from Marco Tola himself. He makes such beautiful pieces of food that you soon think that he has followed a culinary school. Nothing less is true. Marco Tola has mastered cooking by observing others and trying this out every time. He also likes to experiment with food. In the course of his life, he has experienced many difficulties in reaching where he is now as a chef at the hotel Indigo. We are going back to the start of dishwashing help to chef.
Marco Tola background
Marco Tola was born on the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia. His mother soon realized that he has a gift. From childhood she has always encouraged him to do something with his gift. He discovered, but also partly through his mother, that he is talented and that he really excelled in everything that has to do with creativity. He told me that he used to love drawing and was really good at it. He had been a rapper in his younger years and wrote his own rap songs. He also did graffiti and there are more things he had done as a creative outlet.
Discovering what he really likes
When he was 20, he is now 40, he emigrated to Germany for work. He was allowed to work with his uncle and aunt who had an Italian restaurant in Germany. There he was allowed to learn how to make cappuccino, among other things. In the restaurant he started to discover what he really liked and that was the kitchen. He was always there because he was fascinated by the fact that she prepared the food. This was the moment he realized that this might be his destination. He wanted to learn how to cook.
Learn to cook yourself by observing others and just doing it
Learn to make pizza
He stayed in Germany for less than a year because he was unable to make friends because of his shyness. Marco then went to the Netherlands to work for another uncle as a dishwashing help. In the kitchen he saw the pizza baker make the pizza. This had, however, aroused his interest, so that he was determined to be just as good as the pizza baker. After a month he was able to make pizza himself. After all, he learned everything he could learn such as making pizza dough, but also bread and focaccia. Even the pizza baker thought that Marco was better than him.
At one point, Marco wanted to do something else because he found making pizza boring. So he started to look at the cold kitchen as to how others were going to make the cold appetizers. That appealed to him so much that he switched to the cold dishes. After a while, his uncle was proud of him and his achievements. Marco really learned everything he could learn from the cold kitchen. When he couldn’t learn anything new, his next step was to make better food.
When he was 22 years old, he moved to Delft. He was looking for more knowledge and skills and hoped to find this in another Italian restaurant. After a while, every Italian restaurant he had worked for began to bore him. He thought they all looked the same, did the same things and had the same menu. As a creative gifted person, he saw that this could be done better and differently. He also grew both mentally and in skills and worked quickly with his hands. In his head, he comes up with a concept of how to make food every time. If he was alone then he could cook 3 or 4 times at the same time. For him, that’s the way to get his brain to learn faster how to produce more from different dishes at the same time.
He can compile his own menu at Impero Romano
His next challenge was Impero Romano in The Hague. This suited him better because it was not a standard Italian restaurant. In the beginning he did not have the freedom to do his own things in the kitchen. After 9 months he was fed up and started a conversation with the owner. Marco Tola was then given complete freedom in the kitchen and was allowed to put together his own menu. Marco maintained for 6 years at Impero Romano. Marco Tola has put together a menu that is slightly different from authentic Italian food. With his innovative dishes he has greatly surprised the guests. They find his dishes bizarre, but at the same time beautiful and delicious. He has come to the conclusion that guests are attracted to that type of food such as cabonara in a ravioli instead of spaghetti. They also think he has made crazy desserts. His dishes have made him known to the public. That is why the restaurant is full every night, according to Marco Tola.
As a result of which many people in his environment were jealous of him and spoke badly about him, a button went wrong with him. He was enormously advised to show everyone what he can do. So he started posting photos of his dishes on Instagram. Every day something new, a different skill, a different style with Chinese, Japanese etc. Everyone thought about what Marco was doing. He received a lot of positive feedback from chefs and other people around the world. Many people were inspired by him. Marco continued to post photos of his food art on a daily basis and people continued to imitate his food art style en masse. His Instagram account reflects his life on a plate. He lets his dishes speak for himself from he is sad from happy from has fun from dedicated. That’s why people love his Instagram account. People can see everything from him on a sign. Still, he is surprised that every day more than 200 people follow his account.
Recognition of other chefs and people worldwide
For years, Marco Tola has shared his photos of his dishes on Instagram with the world. He became known as a result. All the great chefs were talking about him. They often want to know where Marco works, but he always indicates that he wants to be recognized because of his food art and not where he works. He also likes to read the positive comments of others about his creations but also when they say that to him. For example, if they say that they recognize his unique style from 1000 food art photos, that he is a trendsetter and that they think his food is talking, then he can become very emotional about it. It is the awareness that people know that he is there and that he is recognized and appreciated for his work. That motivates him to keep doing what he prefers to do.
Marco Tola is seen as the mysterious Instagram god
He is known as the mysterious Instagram god that everyone is talking about, so he was told by a chef. This has surprised him enormously, because he is not used to seeing people like that and he can be moving about that. Marco Tola consciously chose not to be in the spotlight at the time because it is all about his dishes. These dishes have put Marco Tola on the map. He has surprised and inspired many people with his dishes. In their eyes he was innovative. Little was known about Marco at the time and there were hardly any photos of him online. This made people curious about him. They wanted to get to know him and meet him.
First sous chef, then chef at the Indigo hotel in The Hague
March last year he first started as sous chef, the assistant to Head chef, at Indigo hotel in The Hague. Within a few months he became Head Chef himself. Indigo hotel gives him the freedom to put together his own menu. Since becoming Head Chef, he has been making food the way he likes it. As you have read before, Marco Tola has never done a chef’s training. He has learned to cook himself in a very different way. So when he sees his colleagues doing something else, he recognizes it and then tells them how they can do it differently. Even as a Head Chef you have to shock them with the innovative creations he has come up with. For example, he said that he must be careful that it should not be too difficult for the team. They must be able to copy it and he will train them for that. In April this year he had launched his new menu at the Indigo hotel in The Hague. The menu is part of his story. People will read, see and recognize it. His dishes will be delicious and eye-catching. He likes to shock people with innovative creations that he has come up with. The intention is to put Indigo hotel on the culinary map together with the other chefs.
Introduction to his desserts
I found it very special that Marco Tola was going to prepare the 4 desserts from his new menu for me and then I tasted them one by one. The desserts were delightful and delicious.
Marco Tola has left the Indigo hotel in The Hague. From 15 December he will be working as executive pastry chef for chef Giorgio Diana in Amman in Jordan. His family later follows him to live there too. I wish him every success with his new job. You can follow him on his Instagram account marco_tola_. In the future a photo album with his own story can be expected and who knows some of his recipes.