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Wednesday, September 18, 2019
 
 
Lino P. Catroppa, the owner of The Cook Shop Restaurant.  Courtesy of Lino P. Catroppa.
  Lino Catroppa was born in April, 1943, in the Calabria Region, Italy. In the true spirit of Italians not hesitating to travel around the world, the whole Catroppa family moved from Calabria to Rome when Lino was twelve. He immediately began to work in a night club as an apprentice bartender in the Via Veneto district from 5:00 pm to 5:00 am. Lino worked in different establishments which remain a success to date: La Cisterna in Trastevere, Ulpia at the Viale dei Fori Romani, Alfredo alla Chiesa Nuova, by Piazza Navona.

Lino P. Catroppa, the owner of The Cook Shop Restaurant
Courtesy of Lino P. Catroppa.
  When Lino reached the old age of 17, he wanted to experiment in the entrepreneurial field. He did so by owning his own business, Carioca Café, right in front of the opera house in the heart of Rome. His last

tenure in Italy was at the Stabilimento Cinematografico di Cine Cittá. This is where he worked for three years.

Cine Cittá inspired him to explore the distant world. England was Lino’s first destination. He managed to obtain a contract to work in a hotel in Yorkshire. Later, he moved to Lancashire around the Liverpool/Manchester area. Later, Catroppa worked in a hotel where the owner called him a fool when Lino announced he was going to Canada.

Arriving in Montreal, Canada in June, 1965 wearing a heavy, double breasted English wool suit, Lino was introduced to a surprisingly infernal heat. He missed Rome where the shaded side is called “al fresco” and it truly provides instant relief from the heat. At the same time, Lino missed England, where the temperature was just about perfect at all times.

Catroppa started to work at a place called The Knotty Pine. He found himself like a fish out of water. He definitely was going to leave Canada and that was that. The owners of the restaurant were a charming couple. They persuaded Lino to stay at least for a while; they kept assuring him that it would get better. Lino introduced tableside cooking to Windsor: a wide repertoire of dishes prepared at tableside. This was a skill which he had the opportunity to acquire while he was in England.

Lino then moved on to Beach Grove Golf and Country Club, where he became manager. After ten years at Beach Grove, Catroppa was engaged in a short lived venture with a restaurant partnership.

In 1980, Lino Catroppa opened his own restaurant, The Cook’s Shop. In 2005, the restaurant celebrated its 25th Anniversary. The motto, “semper item”, regardless of the ups and downs that life provides, is strongly upheld by providing the loyal customers with the best of the best, for a price which is dictated from the heart, rather than the calculator.

Lino Catroppa has three daughters, Gennie, Emily, and Lily and, as he says, they are "the best part" of his life.Their unconditional love and affection has kept Lino invigorated by the kind of nourishment that cannot be found in his restaurant or any other place on earth. As a family, the Catroppas visit various parts of the world. He always says that his adoptive country, Canada, surfaces always on top, as the best. Canada is their home, their land, their country.

 

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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

 

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