Executive Chef Marco Colin
Chef Marco Colin, Executive Chef of Nieuport 17, loves this time of year. Mainly because he can finally tell his guests, who have been asking him “when will Alaska Halibut be back on the menu?” for the last month or so that the fish is finally here! “They keep asking me, “Chef are you going to be the first house with halibut? And I tell them yes, because we are definitely a halibut house!”
Nieuport 17 isn’t just a halibut house, it’s a fresh fish house - with at least four fresh options on the menu every day (including the three examples Chef Marco cooked for us on the day we interviewed him, each one more delicious than the next!)
Although he’s been cooking professionally for over 40 years, Chef Marco maintains a strong enthusiasm for working in the kitchen and keeps his staff invested and involved with every dish. He also makes sure his staff understands the ins and outs of the kitchen, working with them to understand food cost, yield and other back-of-the-house basics that go beyond cooking.
He also works hard to keep his entire staff up to date on seafood - keeping a copy of our Seasonality Poster hung prominently in the kitchen, and making sure his waitstaff has a collection of Santa Monica Seafood pocket guides on them at all times!
Chef Marco was born into a family with both Spanish and Mexican Indian roots, both of which inform his cooking style to this day. He was born in Mexico and although his father was a well-to-do mechanic, Chef Marco tells us he “traded in engine grease for the grease of the kitchen,” much to the disappointment of his father. “ I always wanted to be in the kitchen, cooking with my Grandmother,” he tells us. “So I left home, completely on my own and came to the United States to follow my passion.” After working in kitchens across the US to earn tuition money to attend the Culinary Institute of America (he graduated in ’78), Chef Marco built his resume in a variety of restaurants, most recently leaving a position in Hawaii to take the helm at Nieuport 17.
According to Chef Marco, it’s passion that drives him, and allows him to take pride in his work. His father may have doubted him in the beginning, but his devotion to his dream has brought him all kinds of success. He loves to share his passion with the staff and customers at Nieuport 17, and although he claims the regulars will riot if he changes the menu, he keeps things fresh with special events, an ever-changing bar menu and is working hard these days to introduce a whole new crop of young diners to the classics of this Tustin mainstay.
Thanks for sharing your experiences (and your menu) with us, Chef Marco!
13051 Newport Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780