JL: Tell me more about where your love of cooking and passion for food comes from. How did it start?
MB: Cooking has always been important to me. As an Italian, a passion for good food is simply part of my DNA; it’s inherent to my lifestyle.
JL: What dishes are most personal for you to cook for your guests?
Well, since cooking is already so personal to me, it’s an activity I like to dedicate to my family and friends. Whenever I have spare time to spend with my wife and kids, you will often find us in the kitchen. Coming together for a meal is a special time that allows us to catch up with one another and re-connect.
My delicious Fettuccine al Porcini is a recipe that has been a very popular dish in my family. During the holidays, our entire extended family comes over to catch up and enjoy with a great wine pairing. I recommend one of my favorites, Franciacorta.
JL: Any recipes or dinner party memories that you can share with me?
MB: I am very curious and open to discovering new flavors, but I always find myself returning to this Fettucine dish for dinner parties. It’s a robust, yet simple recipe that allows me to cook a delicious meal while still entertaining and interacting with my guests. It’s a Bicego favorite:
- Boil a pot of water, adding a handful of salt- a true handful, do not be sparse- you want it to have the essence of sea water! Once the water is boiling, add fettuccine.
- While the fettucine is cooking, heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add chopped or crushed fresh garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add finely chopped scallions, porcini mushrooms, salt (I like to use fine sea salt) and freshly ground black pepper.
- Once the pasta is cooked, add it into the pan. It’s served best in individual bowls with fresh parsley and parmesan on top!
JL: Is there a connection between cooking and designing? How would you describe it?
MB: I would describe my approach to cooking and jewelry-making as showing a high regard for quality and spontaneity. Just as I like to use high quality fresh ingredients in my recipes, in the same token, I also always turn to the highest quality materials and gemstones when designing. While cooking, you also have to continuously taste your food and understand when to add more of an ingredient and when to show restraint. The same goes for designing; I like to keep myself open to spontaneously adding in new materials or gemstones when I feel a piece needs something extra, but also understanding when the beauty in a piece lies in its simplicity.
JL: Tell me about the latest collection: I would love to hear how you describe the pieces, shapes and metals.
MB: I am very excited to debut my new Unico Materica collection, made of landscape jasper, wood opal and chrysocolla and exclusive to Neiman Marcus. This collection derives its inspiration and materials from the natural world around us. I have always been attracted to landscapes and endless horizons where the eye can get lost and the mind along with it.
JL: Around the office, we are having a major love affair with the Convertible Necklace from the Jaipur collection. Will multi-functional pieces have a larger presence in Marco Bicego collections to come?
MB: Versatility has always been an important aspect of my jewels. I design pieces that are meant to follow the woman from morning to night. Multi-functionality isn’t a fleeting trend, but rather a pillar of my work. The Jaipur Convertible Necklace came from a casual inspiration, and I’m so glad it’s resonating with our customers. I expect my team and I will design similar pieces in the future.
JL: Who is the Marco Bicego woman? How would you describe her spirit?
MB: The Marco Bicego woman is modern and cosmopolitan. She has tremendous personal style, is sophisticated and isn’t afraid to experiment with different trends while looking for something that can reflect her personality…..and- she loves to shop at Neiman Marcus!
JL: Off-topic, what are your summer holiday plans?
MB: I’m so busy that I can never plan too far in advance, but I always go my beach house outside Venice or my mountain house in Asiago to hunt for mushrooms and be one with nature. Now that my kids have grown a little older, my wife and I can also now go on holidays that combine the opportunity to relax with the chance to discover and explore interesting places.
JL: What's one thing that would surprise NM readers the most about you?
MB: They would probably be surprised by how involved I am in the creation of my jewels! The part of my working day that I love the most is the time I spend with artisans talking about new materials and shapes. All of the pieces I design have a very personal quality and sentiment. In fact, I designed my wife Valentina’s wedding band of 18kt yellow gold and it’s still one of my favorite pieces that I’ve created.