Culinary Ambassador, Innovator, and Storyteller

Welcome to Maricel’s Kitchen – a place where every dish tells a story of passion, tradition, and amazing cooking. Meet Chef Maricel Gentile, the heart of our kitchen. She’s an expert in Asian flavors and loves mixing tastes from around the world.

From Manila Markets to Culinary Heights

Maricel’s love for cooking and food started in the Philippines, in her Lola’s (grandmother’s) kitchen, where she learned that food is more than just a meal – it’s a mix of culture and tradition. Growing up in Manila, and going to the fresh markets in Manila with her Lola, she was drawn to the vibrant flavors of Filipino foods, a passion that was further fueled by her family’s roots in Pampanga, a region known for its great food and great cooks.

On many weekends and holidays, Maricel would be in Pampanga, where her Lola owned fish ponds and farms. Here, she enjoyed fresh carabao milk, fresh eggs, rice, and produce directly from the farm. These experiences, blending Manila’s crossroads of Asia cuisines with Pampanga’s culinary richness, shaped her love for Asian cuisine and laid the groundwork for her unique approach to cooking.

For Maricel Lola’s kitchen was a treasure trove of culinary wisdom, where Maricel learned to harness flavors using fresh vegetables, fruits, and local meats and fish. Those formative experiences in both Manila and Pampanga ignited Maricel’s lifelong passion for Asian cuisine, with a special fondness for the intricate and rich flavors of Filipino dishes. Her palate, shaped by the fresh and vibrant ingredients of the Phillipines, laid the foundation for Maricel’s unique culinary identity.

Maricel’s mom also played a key role in expanding her palate and her love of food. Her mom regularly took Maricel to the famous Manila Chinatown and restaurants all over Manila, which broadened Maricel’s tastes and deepened her love for food. Maricel and her mom also traveled together, exploring and sampling cuisines across Asia, Europe, and America. These journeys added more layers to Maricel’s understanding and love of food. Blending these international experiences with the Filipino cooking techniques she learned from her grandmother, Maricel has developed a truly unique approach to cooking.

A Passion Ignited

Maricel Gentile’s distinguished culinary career, spanning more than three decades, began in New York’s prestigious five-diamond and multi-starred restaurants and hotels. Climbing the ranks to senior management, she demonstrated remarkable versatility and leadership. In 2017, Maricel embarked on an ambitious venture, founding Maricel’s Kitchen. This new endeavor represented a significant shift, with a focused mission to introduce the rich flavors of the Philippines and broader Asian cuisine to an American audience. Her mission was and is to make Filipino food as popular a choice for dining out as is other Asian Cuisines like Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Korean food.

Today, Maricel’s Kitchen is more than a culinary hub; it’s a gateway to cultural exploration, offering classes that go beyond traditional cooking lessons. These sessions are immersive cultural experiences, designed to engage and educate people about the diverse, vibrant traditions of Asian cuisine. Here, Maricel leverages her extensive experience and deep passion for Asian, especially Filipino, cooking to offer a unique, educational culinary adventure.

A Global Culinary Diplomat

Since 2019, Chef Maricel has distinguished herself as the Chef Ambassador for the South Korean Ministry of Fisheries, known as “K-Seafood.”

In this role, she champions the diverse and sustainable seafood heritage of South Korea, a commitment that extends beyond culinary expertise to encompass cultural diplomacy and educational outreach. Despite not being Korean, her dedication to accurately representing and promoting Korean seafood in the West is unwavering. She delves into the preparation methods, cultural significance, and nutritional benefits of Korean seafood, aiming to educate and inspire Western audiences. Her work with K-Seafood is not just about culinary ambassadorship; it’s a venture in bridging cultural divides, showcasing the richness of Korean seafood traditions and fostering global culinary understanding through her passionate and informed approach. Her ambassadorship blends authentic recipes, educational outreach, and international diplomacy, making her a vital figure in the culinary world.

A Charismatic Presence on Screen and Stage

Chef Maricel Gentile is not just a culinary force in the kitchen; she’s also a vibrant personality on screen. Her charm and culinary expertise have found a home in various TV and media appearances, making her a familiar face to food enthusiasts everywhere. Media has been a way for her to continue to deliver on her mission to bring Filipino food to the world.

Showcasing Filipino & Asian Cuisines

A recurring guest on the Emmy Winning PBS show “A Table for All – with Buki Elegebe,” and featured speaker at shows such as the Great Food Expo and Ultimate Women’s’ Expo, Chef Maricel brings Filipino cuisine to the forefront. Her segments, demonstrations, and classes are more than just cooking demonstrations; they are immersive cultural experiences. With her engaging demeanor and deep knowledge of Asian cuisines, Maricel makes each appearance a journey into the heart of Asia. Her ability to articulate complex recipes in an approachable manner makes her segments both educational and entertaining.

Spreading the Joy of Filipino Food

Through her TV appearances and media engagements, Chef Maricel has been pivotal in introducing and popularizing the distinctive flavors of Filipino and Asian cuisines to a broader audience. Whether it’s showcasing a classic Adobo or exploring the subtleties of Sinigang, Maricel’s passion for her native cuisine shines through in every segment. Her ability to communicate the cultural significance and culinary techniques of Filipino dishes makes her a beloved figure among viewers who appreciate both the art and heart of cooking.

Celebrating a World of Flavors at Maricel’s Kitchen

Today, at Maricel’s Kitchen, you’ll find a reflection of this rich culinary heritage. Each dish tells a story of familial bonds, cultural explorations, and a ceaseless passion for discovering and sharing new flavors. Chef Maricel’s journey is a celebration of the global tapestry of cuisines, brought together under the warm and welcoming ambiance of her kitchen.

Join Chef Maricel on this flavorful journey and experience the culinary magic that comes from a life spent exploring the world of food with family.