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Wednesday, January 11, 2006 8 THE MONITOR, McAllen, Texas 8 3D

Special to The Monitor CHEF MARCEL FORTUIN


Chef Marcel Fortuin supports March of Dimes

McALLEN - Rio Grande Valley leading chefs assembled their finest offerings for the benefit of mothers and babies. The March of Dimes Signature Chef Auction held at The Club at Cimarron in Mission was a successful blending of food, fun, and fund-raising.

Executive Chef Marcel Fortuin, owner of Bistro M. has continued to help make this event successful year after year. He brings excitement to guests with more than 28 years of experience in the culinary arts. Born in Rotterdam "The Netherlands," Chef Marcel spent eight years in Culinary Arts School earning three culinary degrees. His interest in culinary arts started very early in his childhood and he began pursuing his goal at age 13 in a French Bistro.

In addition to his title as Executive Chef at Bistro M, Chef Marcel also teaches culinary arts. Despite his demanding .schedule, he continues to find time to support such worthy causes like the March of Dimes.

"The March of Dimes is so fortunate to have Chef Marcel support our event. He plays a major role in recruiting other area chefs to participate in the Signature Chef Auction," said Kylie Hood, senior community director for the March of Dimes. Proceeds from the Signature Chef Auction will help the March of Dimes and its five-year Prematurity Campaign to help reduce the rate of premature birth. One in eight babies are born too soon, many without warning and for unknown reasons. It's the leading cause of newborn death and a major cause of many disabilities. The March of Dimes is raising funds to support research and programs to help fight premature birth.



September 2005. Texas Border Business 17


Bistro M, a LoveStory

Chef Marcel Fortuin while in his native country of the Netherlands, never imagined that a beautiful girl was going to steal his heart. He never thought that he would be so much in love that it would take him to the other side of the world, to America, nor that he would live happily ever after. Chef Marcel is from a city called Rotterdam in a country which is surrounded by the North Sea, Belgium and Germany. It is far away but yet another proof that love knows no barriers or distances.

"I was brought to McAllen by my beautiful wife, Sylvia Nora Guerra, who at the time was visiting the Netherlands. I met her and fell in love", Chef Marcel comments. "During that period of time Sylvia Nora was in school in Dallas and we had mutual friends that introduced us to each other eleven years ago. When 1 came here, this place was very different, coming from the Netherlands I encountered an immense cultural shock and a completely different world; but I also fell in love with the place and I am very happy to be here", Chef Marcel is quick to say. "The area has grown into a Metropolis. "

By Roberto H. Gonzalez

"We love to cater to our guests as if they were our finest friends and to cook the most excellent food possible." - Chef Marcel Fortuin

hospitality industry" Chef Marcel said. Even though this line of work kept him occupied he was able to combine it with wine tasting projects for a local businessman. Later he became a private chef for one of the local banks.

Providing private Chef Services for the bank, Chef Marcel was able to meet lots of people that kept telling him to open a restaurant. "You hear this so many times that you start to believe in it and I decided to do it when I saw the opportunity that McAllen was ready for a nice dining restaurant" Chef Marcel stated.

One daily task, Chef Marcel has is to keep the restaurant's food and service as good as possible by offering excellent products from all over the world including local products. "We import certain fishes from the Netherlands, like Dover sole. We also buy from Canada, Asia, and India always looking for the best product possible. The local products are supplied by a farm north of Edinburg which is called Little Bear Farm and Big Bear Farm. They grow certain products especially for us", he explained.

Chef Marcel says that his menu is very popular and his favorite dish changes by the day because he cooks with

his heart more than with his brain. Everyday he comes up with new ideas; receiving new inspiration from traveling, people he talks to or when he watches TV or a simple smell when he goes to the grocery store. "That gives me ideas", he said. As long as it is quality and fresh products, Chef Marcel is satisfied as he has a golden rule,

not to use canned food. They make everything from scratch like bread, ice cream, soups and like he says "it takes a little time but in the end it is better."

"Tiffany Anders is my assistant and pastry chef. She went to Cordon Blue in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has been with me since day one of Bistro M and I am very grateful to her, she is phenomenal. Customers know her by name and of course her desserts are great", explained Chef Marcel.


The first time he came here was in 1993 just to see the place and to make sure he would be able to live in the Rio Grande Valley. Chef Marcel jokes by saying that his wife brought him to the Valley when the Netherlands was freezing and snowing. "When I got here in December I was able to wear short sleeves and then I saw the palm trees and I said; this is beautiful place to live and work", Chef Marcel stated. Further he comments, that the biggest thing back then was the big Wal-Mart on 23rd and Nolana and according to him since then, McAllen has grown into a Metropolis, almost like a world city.

"Bistro M was opened for the first time three years ago, before that my activities varied from private Chef services, culinary instructor for STCC, now called STC and for the Texas Department of Health. I also trained people in the restaurant industry and inspectors from the health department on how to find health issues in the

Chef Marcel is involved with the community, with the local March of Dimes, where he is the "Lead-Chef' for the organization. His function is to organize a Gala evening once a year to raise funds. The event draws the crème de la crème of the McAllen business world to participate in a live auction of culinary offerings by local chefs and restaurants. This event is held at the Cimarron Country Club in the month of November.

Chef Marcel Fortuin has 30 years of experience in the culinary arts with 3 culinary degrees. Chef Marcel apprenticed with several Master-Chefs and has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Mexico and the United States. His interest in the culinary arts started at age 13 in a French bistro.

Inaddition to his title as Executive Chef, Chef Marcel also teaches Culinary Arts and is an instructor for the Texas Department of Health. Despite his demanding schedule, Chef Marcel also finds time to contribute to causes such as, Dress for Success, Junior League, National Heart Association, and other worthy causes. Chef Marcel came to the United States in 1993 with his lovely wife Sylvia, who is from McAllen. Chef Marcel is experienced in Dutch cuisine as well as the cuisine of France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, China, Indonesia, Mexico, North and South America, and Nuevo Latino cuisine.


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