About us & Photo Gallery
Take a look at the place, the people and the food…
Meet Our Executive Chef
Chef Al Massa grew up in an Italian family where food was an important part of life, showcased at many traditional family events. Al initially got his sense of culinary adventure from his mother, pitching in to help with dinner parties, getting an appreciation for good food, and learning a thing or two in the process. Following a ten year career as an officer in the United States Air Force, he decided to pursue what had previously been a hobby with dedication and zeal. With the important support and encouragement of his wife Karen, he enrolled at Johnson and Wales University and finished the two year course in a year and a half. Wanting to learn the fundamentals of Creole Cuisine, Chef Al moved his family to uptown New Orleans where he secured a position as an entry level line cook at Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA. Chef Al’s abilities became readily apparent as he progressed from desserts to the hot line then saucier and finally Sous Chef, all within his first three years of employment.
After spending two more years as a Sous Chef at NOLA, Chef Al was asked to join the team at Emeril’s Delmonico, where he rose to Executive Sous Chef. During his ten years with the Emeril’s organization, Chef Al absorbed the intricacies of Creole Cookery, recognized the importance of using local ingredients, and mastered a style of cuisine that is ingredient driven. Wanting to expand his experience, Al signed on as the Corporate Chef for a New Orleans restaurant group and their four properties, opened a restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana and then spent 5 years as the chef at Michael’s on East in Sarasota Florida. This was particularly rewarding as Nation’s Restaurants News inducted them into their Fine Dining Hall of Fame as one of only ten restaurants selected nationwide.
Chef Al returned to Destin, where he had closed out a ten year Air Force career at Hurlburt, to continue Marina Café’s prominence in the dining community.
Years of experience