Four Seasons Tenure
- Originally 2006, now since 2012
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Chef de Partie, Four Seasons Hotel Milano
- Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya; Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita; SD26, New York City; Four Seasons Hotel Milano; Sheraton hotel, Rome, Italy; Sheratonhotel, Genoa, Italy; Patria palace, Lecce, Italy; Ristorante Plaza, Lecce; Robinson Club Apulia, Lecce; Hotel Delle Palme, Lecce; Kepos Restaurant, Lecce
- Diploma in Hotel Management & Hospitality, Ippsart Otranto, Lecce, Italy
- Lecce, Italy
- Italian, English, French, Spanish
With oversight of culinary operations for seven restaurants and lounges plus in-room dining and banqueting for more than 13,000 square feet of event space, Fabio Quarta has no illusions about his role at Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas. “My job is to make sure all guest requests are accommodated, and that every outlet provides a unique experience,” he says of his first go as Executive Chef, adding that though each outlet has its own dedicated team in the kitchen, the symbioses between them is what puts the Resort on the culinary map.
“I liken what I do here to conducting an orchestra,” he continues. “Everyone plays their individual sound, and all together we make a unique song.”
Quite a song, at that. Appointed to the oceanfront property on the coast of Baja California in late summer 2021, Quarta promptly noticed parallels between Mexico’s culture of hospitality and that of his home country. Both make the product the star, he says: “Just like in the south of Italy, the aim here is to not overdo, but to make sure the ingredients are top quality and let the product do the talking on the plate.”
He points to “astonishing” seafood caught in the Sea of Cortez and sourced fresh from fishermen at the local marina for dishes on the menus of open-air Casa de Brasa, the Mediterranean offering Estiatorio Milos, Limón in the Resort’s secret lemon grove garden, and even the 19th Hole food truck serving golfers on the Robert Trent Jones II-designed course.
“We try to promote producers from the local community as much as possible,” he says, referencing small farmers that he taps nearby. “It can take time to import things from the mainland, so our ingredients are really more Baja than Mexico. But that just mean guests are in for something unique.”
Quarta oversees a team of 80 cooks in the kitchen – “all very good people and very hungry to learn” – and coordinates with others to create special experiences, such as fashioning small bites for tequila and mezcal tastings. The operation is busy all the time, he says, with the collective goal of ensuring that “the satisfaction guests feel at the end of a meal exceeds their expectations,” and that everyone experiences “a touch of fine dining” no matter the outlet.
Like so many chefs from Italy, Quarta first became intrigued with the kitchen at home, where his mother prepared meals for the family each morning at 7am sharp before joining his father to work a pet shop. Growing up in Lecce near the coast in southernmost Italy, he would eat fresh octopus and sea urchin and vegetables from the home garden, and each August join in the tradition of gathering with his extended family to make tomato sauce for the season ahead.
“It was three tons of tomatoes over three days,” he remembers of the ritual removal of stems, then seeds, and then boiling tomatoes for 49 minutes and jarring sauce to last for 40 days. “As a kid I really wasn’t that interested, but these days it’s a great memory.”
His family’s focus on food had an effect, as by age 14 he knew he wanted to pursue a culinary career. Despite their appetite for entertaining, his parents weren’t thrilled. “I can hardly blame them,” he says. “Back then, a chef was not considered a good job.”
Following culinary school, Quarta worked at restaurants in his hometown before joining an international hotel group to cook in Genoa and Rome. In 2006 he joined Four Seasons Hotel Milano and stayed for three years, departing as a Junior Sous Chef. Then came a move to New York City to work at SD26, the spawn of the temple of Italian cooking San Domenico. The city was a revelation: “You could get any food you wanted, anytime. It was the first time I realized that I could maybe do something other than Italian.”
It took a while longer before he got his chance, however. After re-joining Four Seasons in 2014, Quarta toured on task force assignments before landing for five years at the company’s beachfront resort in Mauritius. Then in 2017 he was appointed as Restaurant Chef of Elements, an international market-style breakfast spot at Four Seasons address in Kuwait City. The experience was “elevating,” he says, offering his first opportunity to grow his beyond his native cuisine to those of Japan, India, and the Middle East.
No Mexican? “The concept of tacos still has a ways to go in Kuwait,” he says with a laugh.
Now right at home in Los Cabos, Quarta is enamoured of the beauty of the land and the sea, and the peace and quiet that are part of the scene. “I love to travel around and see the farms and the cows,” he says. “It’s a completely different feeling from a city hotel.”