Francesco is Executive Chef at Lilys Restaurant, Bar & Function which he runs with business partner Vince Camera.

Ravioli Della Casa fresh pasta filled with ricotta and spinach and pan tossed with cherry tomatoes and basil sauceBorn in Germany and raised in the small town Melicucca Di Dinami in Italy, Francesco Procopio grew up with a love for food. At the age of 16 he decided to discover the Italian cuisine in a different culture and moved to Germany, working in various Italian restaurants across the country. He believes simplicity along with rich flavours leads to the greatest and most appealing dishes, and people love the authentic flavours of the dishes he creates.  Since joining Lilys in 2011, Francesco has increased the capacity, renewed the menu and more than doubled the amount of functions with a mission to make Lily’s Sydney’s leading restaurant & function centre.

Here’s what Francesco had to say about his life and work as a Chef…

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST MOMENT IN THE KITCHEN?
I’ve got many good moments in the kitchen and it’s hard to choose the best one. It makes me happy when I see the smile on people’s faces after they finish their meal. They often come up to me and tell me how I keep on surprising them with flavours, texture and creativity. The best moments in the kitchen are probably the ones when I realise how satisfied people are and how happy I make them with the dishes we serve.

Executive Chef Francesco Procopio in pizza making actionYOUR WORST MOMENT?
The worst moment was when we had a wedding for 200 guests and we realised that the wedding cake, made by the maid of honour, was covered in mould from the inside! Shocked as we were, we had to react quick and ended up cutting up two birthday cakes that were meant for the next day.

WHAT INGREDIENT DO YOU MOST LIKE TO WORK WITH AND WHY?
I love to work with salt & pepper and extra virgin olive oil.
I believe that simplicity along with rich flavours leads to the
greatest and most appealing flavours. Using salt & pepper and
extra virgin olive oil keeps it natural, simple and gives it just that bit extra.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ON THE MENU RIGHT NOW & WHY?
Filetto Al Capone. Prime eye fillet with scallops and a king prawn in a brandy cream sauce.
I’ve been serving this dish for many years in different restaurants and it’s always a popular one. People love the combination of meat with scallops and king prawns.

Lilys Woodfire PizzaWHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL FOOD OBSESSION?
Whenever I’m ordering food I choose eye fillet, cooked medium-rare. I love a steak cooked to perfection.

WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR OTHERS WANTING TO BECOME CHEFS?
Believe in yourself no matter what other people say, be experimental, dare to be different, and commit 100% to your job.

WHAT FOOD TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN WESTERN SYDNEY?
People choose to order vegetables with their meal more often
and the amount of vegetarians has increased over the last years.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN NOT IN THE KITCHEN?
I’m a family man so I like to spend most of my time off with my wife and kids. When I’m not with them I love to go out, discover new restaurants, get inspired by new and creative dishes and spend time with friends.