Made with love from Italy

Made with love from Italy

Chef Roberto Apa

I was 12 when I first thought about becoming a chef. I used to help my grandmother and uncle in the kitchen and in the process, learned many things.
After my graduation, my father put me into a certificate school because I didn’t know about culinary schools then.

It was my grandmother who told me about the concept of a culinary school and advised me that I should perhaps join one. I convinced my father and got into one soon.

While I was studying, I also worked and at the age of 13, I got my first contract in a restaurant. 

After completing my five-year hotel management course, I got a two-year contract with Costa Cruises Ships. When I came back to Italy, I started working at a Michelin starred restaurant as a sous chef.

I was 21 when I started my career as Chef de Cuisine in Shanghai. I also had a brief stint in Monte Carlo. 

Somebody who helped me understand the world of Italian cuisine was Gualtiero Marchesi. He was one of the most celebrated names in the Italian culinary world and is my biggest inspiration. 
For Italians, food is soul and is a sentimental aspect of life.

Being an Italian myself, I understand the importance of food and never stopped myself from learning the art. I feel at home within the four walls of the kitchen. 
The best thing about being a chef is learning the history of different products that nature has given us. To work closely with nature is a great feeling.  

Though Italian cuisine is my forte, I also love Chinese, French and Mexican cuisine. However, pasta is my comfort food. Fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes are some must-haves in my kitchen. 

The recipe I am sharing today is called ‘Insalata Di Rinforzo’. It is a traditional reinforcement salad that is prepared only during Christmas time in my hometown. 

According to traditions, the very first salad of reinforcement is brought to the table on Christmas Eve and is potentially served, with the addition of new ingredients, the reinforcements precisely, until New year. 


Insalata Di Rinforzo



- 1 cauliflower

- Black Olives pitted

- Pitted green olives

- Paprika-type peppers or pickled peppers

- Capers

- Mixed pickles

- Salted anchovies

- Salt

- Pepper

- White wine vinegar

- Extra virgin olive oil



- Cut the cauliflower into many florets and boil it for 10 minutes in salted water in order to blanch it, but do not soften it too much. Put the cauliflower to cool.

- In the meantime, cut the pepper, remove the seeds and the torsole and cut it into segments. Cut the anchovies into small pieces and, if necessary, reduce the size of the pickles.

- When the cauliflower is cold, put it in a bowl and season with green and black olives, capers, the pepper in slices, the chopped anchovies, the pickles, salt, pepper, white vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

- Mix well and let stand at least 4 hours before serving. If you like, you can add boiled chicken and mayonnaise to the recipe to make the salad taste richer.

- To reinforce the salad you can add all the ingredients each 2 days until New Year