Francesco Apreda

Francesco Apreda

Francesco Apreda

At the age of twenty-nine, Francesco returned to Rome and took over the kitchens of Imàgo at Hotel Hassler to become the youngest executive chef of the hotel’s history. He instantly set about maintaining the high standards the hotel had gained over the years, but felt his culinary knowledge still wasn’t as complete as he wanted it to be. However, after further trips to India, America and Thailand, Francesco developed his skills even further, improving his palate and enhancing the creativity of his dishes.

In 2009, Imàgo received its first Michelin star. Francesco was in India at the time, working as a consultant at two restaurants owned by the Oberoi group. ‘It is a moment I will never forget – jumping up and down in the middle of a street in Mumbai without anyone really understanding what I was celebrating,’ he says.

Francesco describes his cuisine as modern Italian, despite his years of travelling. ‘I create very technical dishes but full of flavours,’ he explains. ‘When you eat my dishes, something happens.’ However, there are international twists found on his menu, especially Indian spices and Japanese cooking techniques, which gives his cooking a unique and contemporary spin.

Three things you should know

Maurizio Morelli was Francesco’s most important mentor, but it was Gualtiero Marchesi that inspired him to cook at the very highest level.

Francesco regularly travels to India to consult at two restaurants, and is always hunting for new spices to include in his cooking. His most recent discovery was black cardamom.

As well as Imàgo, Francesco manages Il Palazzetto and the Salone Eva; two restaurants also owned by the Hassler group.