Nickname: Romano Occupation: Manager and wine steward at Locale Restaurants Age: 22 Generation: Third Dad’s side from: Agrigento, Sicilia and Campobasso, Molise Mom’s side from: Ceprano, Frosinone and Roma, Lazio Raised in: King City Speaks: English and Italian (un pochino)
What would someone be surprised to know about you? I love the industry I work in and would like to open up my own bar/restaurant one day—and I want a pet parrot.
What’s the best thing about being Italian-Canadian? The best thing for me is living in such a great country that also embraces the Italian culture so much. I feel very connected to both countries. I am lucky to know the stories of both hardship and sacrifice, and happiness and opportunity from when my grandparents and relatives came to Canada, and how they started a new life here.
What’s an Italian tradition you want to carry on? Sunday dinners at nonna’s house with zia, zio and cugini!
What Italian stereotype do you completely live up to? I hustle when I have to but I like to take my time and definitely “live slow.” Everything Italian happens on its own time—it’s a reflection of appreciating the moment. This applies to food as well. As a teenager in 1986 or so, my mother was in Rome at Piazza di Spagna when they opened the first McDonald’s in Italy. She told me about the protests, and how it led to the creation of the slow-food movement by Carlo Petrini, who believed fast food was eroding Italy’s culinary culture and slow lifestyle. This movement is now followed by millions around the world with the manifesto that fast life disrupts our good habits and takes away all appreciation for real food.
Favourite Italian expression: “Buon appetito”: this is an Italian expression I’ve heard my entire life, as you really didn’t start eating at a family dinner table without someone saying it. It just rolls off the tongue for me now—if I serve food at a table for a customer, I always wish them a “buon appetito”!
Photography by Stephen Gaitan, Makeup by Camila Notari