Michael Pirolo Chef de Cuisine at Scarpetta Miami is today’s chef in the spotlight. Pirolo is one of those meticulous chefs working quietly and diligently behind the scenes without a lot of fuss and fanfare. Raised in Avellino, Italy (near Tuscany) Pirolo’s passion for food began at a very young age with his grandmother paving the way. Being formally schooled at the Italian Culinary Foundationin Torino, Italy opened some pretty impressive doors for Pirolo to apprentice at; such as the Michelin-rated restaurants, La Voglia Matta in Bologna and Café Groppi in Piemonte. In 2003, Pirolo headed to New York looking to embrace the other old world style of food preparation: French. Impressively listing on his resume the acclaimed Gilt, Oceana and Striped Bass. While these successes and experiences were impressive and educational in their own right they weren’t enough to hold him there as his true love for Italian food kept quietly working on him. Pirolo met Scott Conant at Tutto Il Giorno and the two became fast friends. After successfully working with Conant, Pirolo joined him at Scarpetta, NYC then soon after, Pirolo set sail to open Scarpetta Miami Beach at the Fontainebleau. Under Michael Pirolo’s direction Scarpetta has garnered much critical acclaim as one of Miami’s finest Italian dining options. Let’s find out a bit more about the talent behind those fabulously authentic Italian dishes at Scarpetta Miami; I present this week’s Chef in the Spotlight, Michael Pirolo.
South Florida Food and Wine: Where do you get your culinary inspiration?
Michael Pirolo: I get my culinary inspiration from many places; eating out, my travels, the seasons, as well as the people I work with.
South Florida Food and Wine: When did you realize that cooking was your passion?
Michael Pirolo: I was always interested in cooking. I can remember at an early age my curiosity bringing me to the kitchen while my mother prepared lavish holiday meals.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite item on your menu?
Michael Pirolo: I am like a kid with a new toy; I always like the newest dish. So right now it would have to be Bigoli with lobster & Alaskan king crab.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite dish to make at home?
Michael Pirolo: My favorite dish at home is the one I don’t have to cook myself, fortunately for me my girlfriend is a great cook.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Michael Pirolo: There is a tapas counter in Barcelona called Cal Pep. That would have to be my last meal, they have the best clams and fresh langoustine I’ve ever had.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who is the one person you would love to cook with and why?
Michael Pirolo: Marco Pierre White, I want to see how crazy he really is.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one guilty pleasure food?
Michael Pirolo: Girl Scout Cookies, specifically Samoas.
South Florida Food and Wine: What was the last restaurant you ate at?
Michael Pirolo: Pubbelly, those guys are killing it.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who would you most like to cook for? And why?
Michael Pirolo: Dwayne Wade, to try and finagle courtside seats.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your day off, what do you do for fun?
Michael Pirolo: I live in South Beach so I always start the day at the beach and I always end the day with what I call “food tours” where I bounce from restaurant to restaurant just ordering a couple of things and then moving to the next.
441 Collins Avenue Miami Beach, FL 33140 (305) 538-2000