My Uncle and Guardian Chef: Nicola Zerbi

Nicola Giovane bis_1_1_1

Zio Nicola is my mother’s younger brother.

A charming and outgoing young fellow, I always remember him cooking and entertaining.

A family affair!

With most of our relatives surviving beyond 90s, we say it comes down either to genetics, or the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle.

He was so passionate about cooking that in 1994 he opened a private club/restaurant called Fuori Porta.

As he always had people over for lunch and dinner, he thought, he might as well make a living from it.

Fuori Porta was not a typical restaurant; you had to first and foremost be invited to his very home.

The tables were set up in the garden and the menu, and the price, was fixed per person.

He would serve so many courses that the client would always have a choice if they did not like something.


Fuori Porta 2

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I remember those never-ending meals, so long, but still everything was so delicious and different that you had to hang on and try everything.

To end the meal, delicious desserts made by his wife Pina (here in the picture) were served: apple mousse, almond semifreddo, ricotta pie.

Just to name few!

I just couldn’t believe it when I was allowed to look into his private cooking book where he collected photos, memories and recipes.



Here I found some of his favourite phrases:



“I like heaven for its climate, but prefer hell for the company.”


“I can resist everything, except temptation!”


“Moderation is fatal, nothing succeeds more than the excess”

And successful, he was!

Journalists, football players, actors, producers, anti-mafia judges, whoever was in Reggio Calabria would go to eat at Fuori Porta.

Even Carolina di Monaco and her family, on their way to the Eolie Islands, had deviated the yacht’s route to try his food.

The Indian waiters still remember that day and the generous tip they received!


Zio Nicola has now retired and Fuori Porta is now a distant memory, but luckily for us he still cooks for the family.

He has given me some good ideas and recipes for my “Lunch with LT” challenge, so this post is to thank him.

And no, I am not opening a restaurant.

I am fine in domestic heaven;

I leave “Hell’s Kitchen” to Arnaud, The Cooking Mansion to Christophe and my uncle, who likes to hang out in those kind of places.


Zio Nicola Zerbi 1_1_1

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