September 13th, 2019 | Community

From Me, To You – Organic Italian Cooking From Local Woman

Vilma Salvati, a local woman, has put her many years of preparing delicious food and traditional Italian recipes into a new fantastic cookbook. The idea for a cookbook began formulating in 2008 when her son Angelo was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a frightening disease that shook her family and she felt helpless. So Vilma went to the one place she knows well: the kitchen. Vilma went to work…and put her heart and soul into helping her son, and her family, change their lifestyle starting with organic, fresh and healthy meals.

Vilma’s husband Peter got his start at one of Ottawa’s most renowned restaurants, Mama Teresa, when he first immigrated to Canada. Peter brought his experience of working in various kitchens throughout Europe creating delicious meals for the wealthy, dignitaries, and world leaders from the young age of thirteen.  In 1972 Vilma and Peter opened one of the very first pizzerias in Ottawa. “Il Sole d’Italia” was located on Preston Street in Little Italy, near Carling Avenue.

We learned about Vilma in mid-July when she went door-to-door in West Wellington one evening. She introduced herself, explained she had a new cookbook and elaborated on her family history that lead to their switch to eating organically. Her presence in the West Wellington neighbourhood was definitely felt as friends and different neighbours mentioned chatting with her at their front door. Vilma handed out an information sheet along with a bookmark that states, “Cooking with love can bring you more energy and happiness”. That’s Vilma’s motto and more. Vilma has put her heart and soul into the cookbook, “From Me to You”. She explained her quest for healthy eating and preparing food with love and attention and keeping her family safe from harmful toxins, preservatives and additives in our food. As Vilma says, organic foods help calm and heal the body.

From Me to You is an Italian cookbook, but it isn’t just pasta! You will find delicious appetizers, various main dishes that include rice and some recipes are Gluten Free, and there’s definitely some mouth-watering desserts. Trust us, Vilma showered us with eclairs, madeleines and more when we sat down with her!

It was a treat sitting down with Vilma as she reflected on the early years of raising a family of five, working long hours at the pizzeria and then later a restaurant in Hintonburg, The Black Pepper. After many years of working in the kitchen, Vilma informed Peter that while he could continue working the late hours required in a restaurant, she had found a job with the government. Soon enough, Vilma was a big star amongst her colleagues. People admired her energy. Instead of taking a relaxing lunch hour, Vilma was seen in running gear and taking long distant runs during her break. That enjoyment turned into another opportunity. Vilma started running full marathons at 43 years of age. Her first marathon happened to be in Rome, after raising close to $6,500 for Diabetes research. Vilma continued to run three more marathons afterward. Her colleagues in the federal government were so impressed with her energy and her overall positive demeanour, she was highlighted in a government magazine and even made the front cover.

The cookbook was created after Peter, her chef-husband tragically died in 2016. Peter had challenged her over the years by not instructing Vilma on how to cook, but by allowing Vilma to create her own recipes and perfect them to her own taste. Vilma happily boasts that the whole family prefers her lasagna over Peter’s! Vilma’s hard work has obviously paid off as she’s selling her cookbook in hard cover, soft cover and it can be downloaded as an e-book.

To learn more about Vilma and purchase her cookbook, go to