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Marco Proceddu of Francesco's

by R.H. Duke

Chef Marco Proceddu's open kitchen in Francesco's Italian Restaurant at Treasure Island is "state of the art," framed by a beautiful Mediterranean archway and columns. They stand in striking contrast to his modest beginning in the culinary arts!

Marco's training began in the Mediterranean city of Cagiliari on the Italian island of Sardinia. The chef says he's always had a natural curiosity for good tasting food and learned to cook at a young age by spending hours in the kitchen with his Mom. By age 10, and for the next decade, Chef Marco worked in his father's small restaurant. Later, he honed his skills at the 4-star Molas Resort and then the Ismorus Hotel, a 5-star beach front resort.

Proceddu's love of jazz music took him out of the kitchen for a time in his early twenties.  He toured parts of Europe and Scandinavia, but his "guitar playing" desires eventually diminished, and young Marco redirected his talents from "improvisational music to improvisational cooking!"

Chef Marco came to the United States and visited San Francisco and San Diego before settling in Las Vegas.  He soon landed a job as Assistant Chef of The Desert Inn's Portofino.  He then became the Assistant Executive Chef at TreVisi / La Scala in the MGM, where he remained until becoming Francesco's head chef late last year.  At just the age of 27, but with 19 years of cooking experience, Chef Marco Proceddu is now considered by many as one of the "rising star chefs of Las Vegas!"

Marco says he works 10-12 hour days at Francesco's.  He describes his style of cuisine as "simple and rustic, characterized by elegance and finesse in preparation and presentation."

The chef says he tries to "capture the flavors of the Mediterranean" - seafood, vegetables, olive oils and risotto.  He relies on natural food juices for flavors, and avoids "overpowering" ingredients. "Cooking is feeling: ingredients to a chef are equally important as colors are to a painter.  One must feel the culture of a region to capture the essence of it's food."  Chef Marco says "cook with your instincts--what you feel at the moment--and be original."

You can experience all of Marco's culinary artistry by ordering the Chef's degustation dinner.  It's a 5 to 6 course tasting of his finest dishes.  It generally consists of one cold appetizer, two hot appetizers, a pasta and risotto dish, a fish or meat main course, and dessert.  Highlights of my recent visit included Strozzaprete pasta, topped with lump crab meat and a Porcini risotto with quail and truffle oil.

Chef Marco Proceddu's broad smile, but equally intense looks, reveal his love, passion and dedication towards the culinary arts.  Share his passion at the Treasure Island's "Francesco's," under the caring management of Mario Di Si. Mario and his professional staff perfectly complement Chef Marco's cuisine.  Fine dining is one of life's greatest pleasures, and it can be enjoyed at Francesco's.  Call 702-894-7348 for reservations.

R.H. Duke is a former restaurateur and a Las Vegas restaurant critic who says "Fine Dining is one of Life's Greatest Pleasures!"

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