Meet Chef Dena Marino - renowned for crafting irresistible culinary experiences with rustic Italian flair
We're thrilled to announce our collaboration with award-winning chef, Dena Marino! With her vibrant and fresh approach to food putting her defining signature on every plate she prepares, Chef Dena Marino has become one of the country’s most accomplished and preeminent chefs.
Marino hails from Elizabeth, New Jersey, where she found her passion for food at her Nonna’s traditional Italian kitchen counter. Chef Marino first made her mark as the chef of the well-respected D19, Ajax Tavern and Ellina restaurants in Aspen, Colorado.
Sparked by enthusiasm to get closer to the source of many of her ingredients, Marino relocated to Miami, Florida.
During this time, Marino further developed her refined, signature style centered on thoughtful presentation where each ingredient is plated with purpose – a nod to her many years spent under the tutelage of acclaimed chef and restaurateur, Michael Chiarello. It was at his celebrated Tra Vigne, Napa Valley, that she polished her family’s Italian roots.
In November of 2012, Marino opened MC Kitchen and Mercato in Miami’s Design District with a menu reflecting her rustic Italian approach and showcasing modern techniques through the use of seasonal organic ingredients. One of Marino’s proudest achievements, the restaurant was recognized as one of the nation’s Top 20 Best New Restaurants by Esquire and went on to receive multiple accolades in La Cucina Italiana, DuJour, Haute Living, Travel and Leisure, Departures, Vogue as well as honors including Miami New Times’ Best Restaurant - Design District, Miami New Times’ Top 10 Chefs and a three-and-a-half star rating from The Miami Herald.
Marino’s highly reviewed and desired meals at MC Kitchen caught the attention of the Miami Heat, making her restaurant a regular post-game stop for much of the roster. Her work with the team eventually led to her current position as family Chef for LeBron James and his family.
Throughout her career, Marino’s innovative work has consistently earned accolades within the industry and from media. Chef Dena's media accolades include top publications: Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, and the New York Times. Her expertise has also landed her on several leading national culinary programs like Food Network's acclaimed series “Follow That Food with Gordon Elliott,” Tom Colicchio’s “Eat Drink or Die” series and “Iron Chef America.” In 2015, Marino won the Miami Iron Fork Competition for No Kid Hungry.
Marino has also been warmly accepted by the local and national culinary community, where she is committed to using her expertise for good.
She has participated in the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America, the James Beard Foundation’s Policy for Change, Common Threads, OxFam America, Taste of the Nation, No Kid Hungry and Eat (Red) Drink (Red) Bono Batali campaigns. She was also a spokesperson for Prosciutto Di Parma and has participated in events at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Most recently, she offered virtual cooking classes to the families living in the LeBron James Family Foundation’s I PROMISE Village in Akron, Ohio.
Marino graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in New York. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband Marcus and son Cash.