Growing up in the Philippines, Marvi Lou Mapa witnessed the creation of cooking every day in her mother’s restaurant. Cooking over wood-burning stoves, she watched the chefs prepare a daily menu with fresh ingredients her mother brought back from the market that morning. And even though she never cooked before coming to America for a hospitality management internship, Marvi grew up on food so rich in culture and technique, it engrained a certain passion that destined her to become the amazing chef she is today.
It was during her hospitality management internship that Marvi found her true calling in the kitchen. She only had a couple of cooking classes under her belt when she started working chopping vegetables, but it was clear she discovered her passion. Marvi spent years learning her way around the kitchen, how to uniformly cut all varieties of produce and why it's aesthetically pleasing when everything is the same size. "I used to think cutting hundreds of bell peppers was punishment," she says. "But that's how you gain your patience with food and learn to respect your ingredients."
Marvi rose in the ranks as she studied regional cuisine trends then adapted her own version of perfection. She became the chef de cuisine at awarded Mediterranean restaurants and boutique banquet operations under the direction of Executive Chef Nelly Buleje. She’s taken all these skills and funneled it into a new way to approach the lost art of garde manger. From pickled vegetables in the crudité to working with cheese mongers to pick the selections for our charcuterie boards, Marvi carefully researches and selects the best way to present everything that is served to our guests.
"There's always a reason behind every plate I prepare."
First with their eyes and then with their tastebuds. I'm a reserved person and cooking is how I express myself. Crafting a beautiful plate to present and letting the flavors take the guest on a journey is my favorite part. Dining is an experience and garde manger strives to create the best meal for Grand Geneva guests.