Meet The Chef: In his youth, Marcel Acostoaie would always stop by his uncle’s home after a hard day at school. His uncle, who was a respected chef among top military officials in Romania, sparked Marcel’s passion for hearty, home cooked food.
His uncle would spend most of his time teaching Marcel the tricks for proper heartfelt food. Since then Marcel has been all around the world crafting his trade, cooking for celebrities, working on Caribbean cruise ships, understanding different cultures and their traditional foods.
His career highlights were catering for a £1million wedding where he was able to meet celebrities such as Elton John and Penelope Cruz among others.
Since then Marcel has settled in the UK with the aim to make The Paper Mills one of the best places around Peterborough to eat. Marcel brings flair to his dishes and his cooking brims with enticing options inspired by his travels.
This dedicated chef strives to source local produce from butchers, farms and suppliers wherever possible.
What were your ambitions then? And now?
When I first started I was happy to get through the week without slicing my hand! Now I aspire to make The Paper Mills the best place to eat within the area. Competition is tough though!
Who have been your influences?
My uncle firstly, as he brought the passion for cooking out in me. A few chefs along the way also, but Chef Anton Manganaro at 195 Picadilly in London being the one who taught me that cooking comes from within and not just from cooking shows and books.
How did you come to be at The Paper Mills?
I followed my previous head chef from Carberry Tower in Edinburgh, we worked well together.
Sadly he decided to venture of to another place and then I stepped up. I see huge potential with The Paper Mills and have been here almost four years now. I want this place to be on everyone’s lips. Not just for the food but for the atmosphere and service too.
How important is the team around you?
Crucial! The connection you need to have with your team is important. Everyone needs to be in sync. Teamwork makes the dream work as they say.
Is recruitment difficult?
Very. The catering environment is a tough one and the turn over is so high, probably one of the highest turn overs in any industry. Its about finding the passionate ones. We are nine miles outside of Peterborough, it’s difficult to gain staff that could easily find a job in the city centre.
What can people expect from your menus?
Good comfort food, done simply and fresh so everyone can understand it. Always seasonal and local as possible. I do have a soft spot for Asian flavours so customers can expect to see the odd Asian infused dish.
What was the last dish you put on the menu?
We recently added a slow cooked duck leg, with dauphinoise potatoes, braised pak choi with a hoisin and pink peppercorn sauce. Seems to be very popular!
Favourite dish on the menu?
Braised beef cheek with horseradish mash, wild mushroom jus and grilled tenderstem broccoli.
Such a simple and overlooked cut of meat that packs so much flavour. It will stick in your memories if done properly. Also a good money making dish!