Our culinary team is lead by Executive Chef Bettina Tolin and Chef Juan Hernandez.
Chef Juan has cooked in the kitchen of Marcello’s for over 22 years and his experience here dates back to cooking with Manuela, the original owner of the restaurant. Throughout the years, he has retained and preserved several of Manuela’s original from-scratch recipes including our famous house-made bread, pizza dough, roasted marinara and our Alfredo sauce. Local guests who were born and raised here in Port Isabel say they remember coming to Marcello’s as children and recall nostalgically that our signature bread tastes the same today as it did when they were young. Chef Juan prides himself on that consistency and while we celebrate our heritage, Chef Juan is always creating new twists on Italian Classics. His lemon Picatta sauce is renowned and guests rave about his Veal Marsala.
Chef Bettina hails from a long line of restauranteurs. Her grandfather, Ben Ridolfi, owned Italian restaurants and bars in the 1940s and 50’s which were later continued by her uncle and cousins. She is classically trained, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas. Prior to joining Marcello’s, Chef Bettina cooked in the kitchens of the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida. Her philosophy on food and cooking is one of classic simplicity. “Food should be simple, beautiful, fresh and delicious”, she says, “so often dishes are made too fussy and complicated – it’s just not necessary”. Her culinary passion is sauces – creating them from unique ingredients, pairing them with new entrees and she loves teaching others how to prepare them. “Sauces may seem mystical, and in some ways they are, but they should never be feared. With three ingredients and 5 minutes you can have a flawless Alfredo sauce, it’s that simple”. She adds, “after all cooking should be simple, fun and filled with love”.