Wednesday, April 19 at 6 pm • At the KCIC Hall & Via Zoom
"Imagine that Italian food did not exist — that spaghetti, ravioli and chicken cacciatore could not be found on any menu. This was the situation in Calgary, Alberta until 1949, when an Italian immigrant, Genesio (Gene) Cioni, opened the first Italian restaurant."
- from Maria Cioni - Spaghetti Western
As common as it seems today, Italian cuisine was virtually unknown in Western Canada in the period just after World War II.
Although they didn't know each other, Gene and Martha Cioni in Calgary and Albert and Ida Vecchio in Kelowna were following similar paths. The Vecchios opened Al's Cafe in Winfield in 1948 and the Cionis opened their first Italian restaurant in Calgary in 1949. A few years later Gene and Martha would open Gene's La Villa on the outskirts of the booming city. Both families ensured their establishments would become the hub of their respective communities.
For us here at the KCIC, Albert was a past president and Ida was instrumental in initiating Italian heritage and cultural presentations for the community. We strive to continue the work they both pioneered and we miss them both greatly!
Join us for this very special presentation, as Maria Cioni (via Zoom) and Joey Vecchio (daughters of Gene and Martha Cioni and Ida and Albert Vecchio) join us to share the story of what would become cultural touchstones in Western Canada - the sharing of food and hospitality!
NOTE: Maria Cioni's book - Spaghetti Western: How My Father Brought Italian Food to the West is available in paperback and audio book format on Amazon.ca
This is a free event but registration on Eventbrite is required
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