BonAppetour Hosts: Alessandro Ricchi

BonAppetour Hosts: Alessandro Ricchi

Possessing an ardent passion for cooking, Alessandro has earned a HACCP certification, and is a graduated sommelier registered under the Worldwide Sommelier Association.

 As a child, he used to watch on as his grandmother and mother prepare meals in the kitchen. After graduating with a degree in law, he went on to become a practitioner for a short period of time. He soon came to the realisation that this was not where his passion lies, and decided to make a career switch to pursue his love for cooking. 

1. What do you like most about being a BonAppetour host?

Being a host at BonAppetour helped me in managing my home restaurant. Before meeting Rinita and her team, I tried to become a host through my own means and spreading the word through social media. I encountered many difficulties and met with few positive results. I tried other home restaurant platforms, but they proved to be unprofessional.

The turning point came when I joined BonAppetour. Their advertising channels and social media marketing strategies helped to garner more attention for my home restaurant, and I received more bookings for dining experiences. My collaboration with BonAppetour has provided me with many opportunities to meet people from diverse cultures. What I find extremely rewarding is getting to know what authentic Roman and Italian cuisine means to other people.  

2. Where do the locals go to eat in your city?

There are many places to dine at in Rome. The problem is that many of them are tourist traps, often selling food of poor quality at high prices. I recommend that travellers approach the Romans, and ask them where they go to eat at. Of course, now that there are home restaurants, this serves as the best answer to the needs of travellers, for they can enjoy authentic and traditional dishes prepared with top quality ingredients. 

3. What are some places that locals like to hang out at?

For shopping, we head to Via Cola di Rienzo and its surrounding streets, where prices are affordable and there are plenty of shops to visit. For dining, we usually go to Trastevere or Testaccio. These are two ancient neighbourhoods of Rome filled with restaurants and pubs, and are now popular with tourists. 

The locals head to public neighbourhood markets to shop for fresh food. There are many of these in Rome, with the market of Piazza Vittorio, as well as the recently renovated Trionfale Market being famous spots. The public parks are perfect for taking a relaxing stroll or for an invigorating run. I would recommend Villa Doria Pamphili, Villa Borghese and Villa Ada, for these are the most beautiful parks. Those who wish to go to the beach can take a thirty minutes journey to Ostia or Fregene. The sea water at these coasts are not very clean, but there are many bars and discos along the beach. 

4. Did you always have a passion for food and cooking? Tell us more about your experiences and background with cooking.

I developed a passion for cooking from a young age. This passion was transmitted from my grandmother, Iolanda, and my mother, Maria Pia. Curious about the ongoings in the kitchen, I began to experiement with culinary pursuits as as child with my grandmother, discovering more about homemade pasta, gnocchi and Roman cuisine. From my mother, I learnt about the traditional cuisine of Abruzzi, and developed the desire to create new recipes. Even back then, it was clear that I had a passion for cooking. However, for some time, this passion was accompanied by a strong interest in academic pursuits. 

After graduating with a degree in law, I carried on as a practitioner. However, I could not deny my passion for cooking, and decided to take up a diploma by the Chef of Hotel, and continued on to work as a chef in a famous international hotel chain. I have attained the HACCP certificate, and am a sommelier with the Worldwide Sommelier Association. 

For me, cooking is always a pleasure. It is relaxing and rewarding. I am always happy when guests taste the dishes, especially when the items are my creations. In fact, I love experimenting and creating new recipes. Sometimes, I start with a traditional dish and add a modern twist, while at other times I design a new dish from scratch. 

5. Which are the dishes that you love cooking the most?

I love cooking traditional Italian dishes, especially first courses, homemade pasta, as well as meat and fish mains. Most of the time, I cook dishes originating from Rome, Tuscany and Abruzzo, as well as typical Roman pasta dishes such as carbonara, gricia, amatriciana and cacio e pepe. I also enjoy making changes to traditional recipes, and experimenting with dishes to cater to special food requests made by vegetarians, vegans or individuals with food intolerances and allergies. 

Find out more about dining with host Alessandro here.

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BonAppetour Hosts: Amrita Singh

BonAppetour Hosts: Amrita Singh

Let's hear from our affable and knowledgeable host, Amrita!

Having a fond passion for food, Amrita is knowleageable about various aspects of Indian cuisine, starting from its preparation methods, diversity of ingredients used, flavours generated as well as the differences between regional variations of the dishes. Apart from cooking, she enjoys travelling and engaging in thrilling activities. 

Prior to settling down in Singapore, Amrita lived in India and Sydney with her husband. The genial couple is keen to share their experiences and knowledge about Indian culture and cuisine over a delightful rooftop meal at their lovely home!

What do you like most about being a BonAppetour host?

I get to meet lots of different people of varying nationalities, and share with them the intricacies of Indian cuisine. I enjoy having the opportunity to share my passion for food, and to serve an array of dishes from various regions within India. These dishes range from Southern delicacies, such as briyani rice and dosa, to Northern specialties like chapati and paneer. 

Where do the locals go to eat in Singapore?

Hawker centres. 

What are some places that locals like to hang out at?

Hawker centres and fine dining restaurants.

What do you feel is the difference between a BonAppetour dining experience, and dining outside in an eatery or restaurant?

The BonAppetour dining experience is unique, as you get to meet people from different parts of the world. It is not simply about dining – the experience also provides interesting and insightful conversations, cultural exchange and sharing of good food. Our guests get to learn more about the food that they are served, such as its origins, ingredients used and preparation techniques. Dining in a local's home also makes the experience more authentic. It helps that we offer a rooftop setting, so our guests get to feast on a hearty meal and enjoy splendid views of the city. 

Having a meal in an eatery or restaurant lacks the warmth and personal touch that a home dining experience offers. You are also unlikely to engage in conversations with other diners, and to acquire knowledge about the dishes that you eat. 

What do you love about Singapore?

The weather. It is bright and sunny in Singapore most of the time, which I find uplifting. Even in instances of weather, there is the prospect of seeing a rainbow after the rain ceases.

I also like that before sunset, the sky resembles a mosaic painting. Beyond the meteorological aspects, I like that Singapore is a multi-cultural society that is well-connected, efficient and clean. 

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BonAppetour Hosts: Ileana Zagaglia

BonAppetour Hosts: Ileana Zagaglia

We had the opportunity to dine with Ileana during our recent trip to Rome. Friendly and cheerful, she warmly welcomed us for a meal in her beautiful home.

Apart from her passion for cooking, Ileana has a diverse array of interests, such as reading, travelling, art, interior design, sewing, ceramics, and more! We had a lovely time dining with her, and would highly recommend that you do the same during your sojourns to Italy.

Do read on below, to find out more about our fascinating and lively BonAppetour host:

What do you love about your city?  

I love summertime in Rome, and going around by scooter to discover new spots. Beautiful Rome always has a surprise for everyone, even for those who are living here.

I also love the feeling of driving around Via del Mandrione, or the nearby Via Casilina Vecchia. It feels like just like I am in a small village, quite like the ones you get in Garbatella. I also love walking around Piazza Del Fico, and shopping for food, such as searching for exotic ingredients in the Esquilino area.

Did you always have a passion for food and cooking? Tell us more about your experiences and background with cooking.

My culinary journey began out of sheer necessity – I left home for London when I was eighteen, and had no choice but to prepare my own meals during my stay abroad.

My interest for cooking was ignited with my discovery of Indian food. I felt that Indian food was so different and bold! I have always enjoyed eating, but I was never curious about finding out how to cook the dishes. After this spark of interest, I started a rediscovery of my culinary traditions, and also began exploring other kinds of cuisines.

I decided to take my interest in cooking seriously upon returning back to Rome. I enrolled in a cooking school, and gained certifications such as a commis chef diploma, a HACCP certificate and a membership with Federazione Italiana Cuochi.

I also completed a three-months internship at Giuda Ballerino, a Michelin-star restaurant. Those months were exhilarating and exhausting, and provided a great experience. I was lucky to join the chef and his team in the Cannes Film Festival, as we were the official Italian catering team during the festival.  

In 2012, my culinary research took a different turn, as I stopped eating and cooking meat and fish products. My latest courses are on vegan haute cuisine, and are held in Joia, the only Michelin-star vegetarian restaurant in Europe.

Currently, I run my own business, offering catering and private cooking services. Unfortunately, this is not my proper job…yet!

Which are the dishes that you love cooking the most?

Pasta and fresh tomatoes are ingredients I cannot live without, so I would say my favourite dish to cook is spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce and basil!

What do you like most about being a BonAppetour host?

I love being able to meet new people from different parts of the world, which was something that I experienced and enjoyed when I was living in London. Also, I'd love to spare them the experience of being ripped off for a bad meal. Sometimes, this happens here in Rome, and not only to tourists!

What do you feel is the difference between a BonAppetour dining experience, and dining outside in an eatery or restaurant?

It is a completely different experience – one that will satisfy you on an emotional level. This is true for both the hosts and guests.

I feel that in my case, guests will be able to eat something that is not served anywhere else is Rome, and be able to experience an authentic Roman dinner in more ways than one.

Image credits: Recipe Diaries, One Green Planet

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Cassandra: Hosting My First BonAppetour Experience

Cassandra: Hosting My First BonAppetour Experience

Our lovely BonAppetour host, Cassandra, writes about her first experience hosting guests in her home in sunny Singapore! An avid home-chef, with a passion for creating exotic yet authentic dishes, Cassandra is a foodie at heart, and loves to spread the joy of cooking at home by sharing recipes and video tutorials with her friends! 

Thanks for contributing this article, Cassandra! 

Have you ever wished you could dine at some local’s place when you travel?

I always wished I could visit their house and tastes their home cooked food. When I was approached with this concept, I thought it was awesome, except for one thing – I am the host instead of the guest! I felt quite apprehensive about opening up my home to complete strangers who will pay me for their meal. Erm, did I just said I wish I could eat at some strangers’ house?

I was cracking my head. There are wide varieties of cuisines available in Singapore. What type of food is not easily available to foreigners or tourists?

So, I decided to make a Peng Cai. We usually eat this dish during Chinese New Year and strangely, this one-pot wonder is so easy to make but I don’t remember having it on a regular day. You can use many of your favourite ingredients to flavour the dish. I asked my guests for their choice and they chose chicken as the meat ingredient. In my peng cai, there’s prawns, fresh scallops, roast chicken cooked in broth flavoured by wong bok, dried mushrooms & dried scallops. (My recipe is included at the end of this post!)

At around 6.30pm, the guests arrived at my place. They were from Beijing, Italy and Singapore. My hubby helped showed them to their seats while I served the peng cai, as well as some seafood tofu puffs as a side dish. I prepared some sambal belacan as dipping sauce. However, it was a pity that my Italian guest could not tolerate its spiciness.

We had a good chat about their stay in Singapore. It was eating, talking and laughing throughout the dinner. I totally enjoyed hosting this dinner experience with BonAppetour. I am going to Penang early next year, and I heard that ther are BonAppetour hosts in Penang – I really look forward to being a guest at their place!


1 Wong Bok, cut into pieces and separating the stem and leafy parts
4 dried mushrooms, rinsed and soaked
4 dried scallops, rinsed and soaked
8 pcs of fresh scallops, sliced into halves
8 pcs of prawns
2 chicken drumsticks, bones removed
1 pkt golden mushrooms
1 small carrot, cut into flower shape and slice into 5 mm thickness
3 cups chicken stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk spring onion, chopped

6 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp chinese wine
Dashes of pepper


  1. Fry garlic till fragrant.
  2. Add chicken stock and seasoning.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Add the stems of wong bok, follow by leafy parts.
  5. Laid the carrots on top of wong bok.
  6. Bring to boil.
  7. Switch to small fire, cover and simmer for 15-20 mins till wong bok had softened abit.
  8. Set aside some carrots for arrangement.
  9. Arrange the rest of carrots, mushroom and dried scallops around the claypot.
  10. Using a flat plate slightly smaller than the diameter of your clay pot, arrange the rest of ingredients on it. Arrange some carrots around the ingredients.
  11. Use your hand to push the ingredients so that they slide into the clay pot with the arrangement still intact.
  12. Cover and simmer for 10 mins till ingredients are full cooked.
  13. Add spring onions.
  14. Serve in claypot.


  1. I am using a 2.9 litres Tanyu claypot.
  2. The chicken stock looks little to begin with but after simmering, the water content in wong bok will seeped out. You can add more stock after wong bok had softened (if you prefer).
  3. Use small fire and cover with lid while simmering the wong bok. This is to create a “steaming” effect with the small amount of stock in the claypot.
  4. The total cooking time for wong bok to completely softened is about 25 mins. As this dish has to cook in layers to maintain its arrangement, you need to plan what ingredients goes in first or later. 
  5. If radish is added, you can arrange them around the claypot, submerged in broth and cook together with wong bok, dried mushrooms and dried scallops.
  6. If yam and pumpkin are added, you can do without carrots. Arrange them on top of wong bok so that they are steamed instead of cooked in broth. Rearrange them around the claypot before laying the rest of ingredients for the final cooking at the last 10 mins.

Image Credits: six-and-seven, streetfoodwarmsyourheart 

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