Italian chef living his dream to open his own restaurant in landmark Padiham building
Sicilian born chef Antonio Vetrano has fulfilled his lifelong dream to run his own restaurant.
Antonio is the new owner of the former Mamma Mia restaurant in Padiham, one of the town's longest established businesses and a landmark building in the town.
Re-named as Vetrano, Antonio is already building his reputation in the town with his take-away menu that includes his award winning pizzas, pasta and his famous homemade tiramisu.
Passionate about food, Antonio is in his element in his kitchen at the restaurant and he cannot wait until he can welcome diners through the doors when lockdown allows.
"This is my passion, my dream, something I have waited for and worked hard towards for so many years," said Antonio who is also known as Tony or Charlie.
This is in reference to Charlie Chaplin because, as a child, Antonio, who is 45, used to dance like the iconic Hollywood star so family gave him the nickname and it stuck. He still loves dancing and is also a very talented singer with a booming operatic style voice.
Born in Palermo, Antonio's father was a master builder but also a very talented cook. Antonio inherited that talent and learned so many skills from his mum, sisters and aunts who all loved to cook.
Antonio, who qualified as a chef 28 years ago, and is a three times winner in the English Italian Awards, said: "The kitchen came to me shall we say? It was only natural I would become a chef."
Antonio, who moved to England 22 years ago, has refurbished the restaurant also extended the kitchen.
Supporting him in his new venture is his wife Andrea and their son Nico who is seven.
Antonio said: "My wife and family have been amazing and so supportive."
Also wishing Antonio well are the former owners Sylvia and Tony Seminara who spent 27 years running the business as Mamma Mia.
Sylvia said: "We spent many happy years working and living at the restaurant where we made lots of friends that saw us as part of their family.
"We have known Antonio for many years and his excellent reputation precedes him, which was one of the reasons we chose to sell to him as we knew that he also had the passion that we had for the restaurant to bring it back to life and welcome back old and new customers.
"We wish him and his family a long and successful journey in this beautiful location and we can't wait to support him when restaurants reopen."