Roberta Monreale was born in Palermo from Italian father and Mauritian mother. Her intercultural family explains why, even when she was just starting experimenting with cooking, her interpretation of cuisine has always been influenced by the Asian culture.
Her professional path is not what you would call usual: after gaining a diploma in communication and marketing and working for some time in the commercial sector, at 24 years old, she decides to pursue her lifelong passion for cooking and make a profession out of it.
In 2008, having achieved her first professional cooking experience in her aunt’s small restaurant, Roberta has the chance to work in a proper kitchen at a renown gourmet restaurant in Palermo, “Osteria dei Vespri”. A short time later, she is promoted to chef de partie for the bread and desserts section, and joins chef patron Alberto Rizzo in gastronomic experiences and events throughout Italy, where she plays the role of the critic and customer of the chef, and learning that a good chef needs to be able to taste, in addition to being able to cook.
Her work has lately focused on the preparation of savory dishes, through several experiences in different sections of the food service, and collaborating in starting new catering enterprises as chef.
In 2013, Osteria dei Vespri requests her service again to accompany the new chef de partie for the bread and desserts section, and this is how she meets Francesca Di Patti for the first time.
FRANCESCA DI PATTI
Francesca Di Patti, born in Palermo, achieves her secondary school diploma from a technical school, then attends Law School. Towards the end of her academic career, she starts to indulge her passion for the food service by working on several restaurants in Palermo, later on giving up her law studies to commit fully to culinary art studies.
In 2012, she starts a vocational course at ANPA (National Academy of Hospitality Professions) and achieves a first-class diploma (28/30); she then carries out an internship at the Palace Hotel in Mondello (Palermo), where she is soon entrusted with managing both breakfast and lunch. She also supports the other chefs de partie, especially for the first courses.
Several cooking experiences later, she decides to focus on learning the cuisine from Campania and therefore is employed in a Neapolitan restaurant.
An important step in her training as a chef, from both the point of view of the quality of the cuisine and the quantity of clients catered, is represented by her time at the restaurant “Al Gabbiano”, a renowned restaurant in Palermo that only focuses on fish cuisine. With the aim to further complete and enrich her professional knowledge and skills, she then engages with the preparation of bread and desserts for the food service: this is how she embarks in her experience at the “Osteria dei Vespri” as chef de partie bread and desserts. And that’s when the encounter with Roberta Monreale occurs.
Roberta and Francesca begin a work exchange where each of them contributes with their gained knowledge and expertise. Roberta enriches and refines Francesca’s skills in the gourmet cuisine, and Francesca guides Roberta in the gist of a more traditional Italian cuisine.
Since then, the two sharing a passion and a perspective on cuisine, Francesca and Roberta make the decision to work together, juxtaposing tradition and innovation, and achieving their own tailored cuisine.
From July 2014 to October 2015 the two start up a new restaurant in Palermo as chefs, meeting with praise from the customers and the employers alike.
Inspired by yet another shared experience, Roberta and Francesca create the Persil et Thym brand. The name was chosen to refer back to an old Mauritian tradition where persil and thyme are two inseparable ingredients in the kitchen, to the point that they are also always sold together.
Reflecting this very same idea, Francesca and Roberta decide to set up their collaboration in a way that the knowledge of the one cannot be separated by that of the other – whether they are in the same kitchen or not, the distinctive trait in their food remains identical.