Of tradition and ambition: Elizabeth Marini on Chinese New Year and 2024 goals


The Marini’s Group vice president Elizabeth Marini shares her plans for the Chinese New Year festivities and her aspirations for 2024. — Photo: YAP CHEE HONG/The Star; Makeup: ELIZABETH MARINI; Hair: JESSICA YONG/Hair Culture, Mandarin Oriental Hotel; Wardrobe: TANGOO

Radiating positivity with a wide, genuine smile and an enthusiastic demeanour, Elizabeth Marini’s commanding presence conveys leadership and authority, with a friendly disposition.

An amicable personality whose kind words put everyone around her at ease, Marini knocks our shoot out of the park dressed in exquisite creations from local designers Tangoo and Farah Khan, looking stunning with minimal makeup.

For this cover story, the vice president of The Marini’s Group shares with us how she celebrates Chinese New Year, a festivity that brings families together to reconnect over scrumptious feasts.

“Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration for my family next to the Christmas festive season. Family of more than 60 relatives, comprising three generations, from near and far would plan their trip back to KL for at least three days: the New Year’s eve dinner, New Year’s Day celebrations, and the second day family luncheon,” says Marini.

For her, this festive season is more than just a celebration, it’s a cherished tradition with family bonds at the very heart of it.

“It’s something that I look forward to always, and I’m so glad my children are just as excited about CNY as I was growing up,” says the mother of a 19-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son.

Marini, who was born in Ipoh but grew up in Petaling Jaya, has fond memories of this festive time from her childhood.

“Honestly, the family CNY routine has changed so much compared to when I was growing up,” she says.

Every holiday and CNY season were spent in Kampar and Ipoh, where her grandparents lived.

Marini radiates passion not only for family but also for the food and beverage business, with several restaurants and bars under their group. — Photo: YAP CHEE HONG/The Star; Makeup: ELIZABETH MARINI; Hair: JESSICA YONG/Hair Culture, Mandarin Oriental Hotel; Wardrobe: FARAH KHANMarini radiates passion not only for family but also for the food and beverage business, with several restaurants and bars under their group. — Photo: YAP CHEE HONG/The Star; Makeup: ELIZABETH MARINI; Hair: JESSICA YONG/Hair Culture, Mandarin Oriental Hotel; Wardrobe: FARAH KHAN

“Back then, we all got new clothes, new shoes during CNY, and we all loved being in my grandmother’s house, which was wooden and in the quaint little town of Malim Nawar, Perak.”

“More than 60 of us would cram in the house, adults played mahjong all day in one living room, we played and watched Chinese dramas all day in another room and the women cooked all day in the kitchen. It was an endless indulgence in food and drinks, of course,” she shares.

Although she misses the presence of her grandparents and her father, the festivities are just as lively, with several differences.

“This year, the celebrations are all happening in KL as over the years, most of our family members have decided to not brave through the festive traffic to Ipoh.”

“We, as adults now, have decided on convenience over traditions in many forms. Growing up, ang pow sessions used to take hours because we had to respectfully wait in line by age and seniority,” she adds.

“Oh, I could go on and on... but I’m just so happy to have my children still witness this amazing family bond in our Chinese culture, which they don’t quite get to experience from my husband’s side of Italian lineage.”

Also, during this time, those who subscribe to astrological beliefs will begin examining their fortune (or lack thereof) for the upcoming year.

Marini believes that some readings are applicable especially where the theories align with monology and western astrological influences.

“I am born in the year of Tiger,” she says. “I used to be so fixated on Chinese horoscope readings especially after my return from the US, after six years. I think it’s also due to many influences and programming from feng shui masters here and the local media feed during CNY. You can’t not read the readings that are literally everywhere.”

“Some of it, might be just conditioning by fear or local superstitions. But I believe in self-manifestation these days. And what one believes by choice is what they will manifest.”

Professional triumphs and personal goals

Marini radiates passion not only for family but also for the food and beverage business, with several restaurants and bars under their group.

In supporting her husband, Cavaliere Modesto Marini, the founder and owner of The Marini’s Group, since 2012, the journey has been an exciting one.

For Marini, this festive season is more than just a celebration, it’s a cherished tradition with family bonds at the very heart of it. — Photo: YAP CHEE HONG/The Star; Makeup: ELIZABETH MARINI; Hair: JESSICA YONG/Hair Culture, Mandarin Oriental Hotel; Wardrobe: TANGOOFor Marini, this festive season is more than just a celebration, it’s a cherished tradition with family bonds at the very heart of it. — Photo: YAP CHEE HONG/The Star; Makeup: ELIZABETH MARINI; Hair: JESSICA YONG/Hair Culture, Mandarin Oriental Hotel; Wardrobe: TANGOO

“It is a very humbling experience supporting my husband in this business. I am definitely not the same person I was when we started in 2012.

“We have a wonderful team of more than 200 staff and growing, and 2024 will definitely see novelty and expansion within the group,” says Marini.

A notable achievement from the past year includes two restaurants under the group receiving international accolades.

“I am so proud that both our restaurants, Marble 8 Steakhouse and Marini’s on 57 are now Michelin Selected. It is an amazing journey as The Marini’s Group is now 11 years old. We’ve served international celebrities to royalty to heads of countries and more.”

On a personal level, Marini has personal goals that she hopes to achieve this year.

“There’s so much to do and improve professionally and personally. Some plans took years to materialise but I see it all happening now. I am thankful,” she says.

“One thing that I really want to do this year is to catch the Northern Lights. Let’s see.”

Her daily mantra is “Flow with the Divine” which is her advice to anyone on being happy.

“It’s not always easy to flow with it... but when we do, we start to see the good even when it didn’t seem so good at first,” she says.

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