He traded in a promising soccer career once he started working with his father in the family restaurant, Il Cappuccino, in Vancouver, Canada. Sandro Romano has taken the tools of the trade learned under his father’s wing and now uses them to delight patrons of his own restaurant, Avanti CafÃ© and Pasta, in Brisbane, Australia.
Here is his story:
He didn’t start out as a regular kitchen hand. Oh no, Sandro did the hard yards under his father, working as a busboy, barista, and kitchenhand â€“ a jack of all trades from an early age. The restaurant was family-owned and he worked there until 1980 brought the completion of high school studies.
By this time, Sandro had grown tired of the restaurant industry and decided to go to college and university, graduating in 1983 with a business degree. However, he worked in various restaurants to support his college and university education.
After graduating, Sandro became involved in the oil industry as a marketing consultant to Chevron Oil Company.
It was then that Sandro realized that he was not a 9 to 5 kind of guy in the corporate world; and, his true passion was in food.
During his early adulthood, Sandro was an avid sportsman. He played soccer, gridiron, ice hockey and pole vaulting, culminating in an historic gridiron championship in 1982. It was at this time that Sandro yearned for greater worldwide travel. Having travelled through North America, Europe and the South Pacific, it was a dream of his to visit his country of birth, Australia. That dream was realised when he won a competition and earned two tickets to Australia.
One of his greatest experiences lay in the participation in setting up and managing bars and restaurants at World Expo in Vancouver, Canada in 1986 and again in Brisbane, Australia in 1988 â€“ this was an experience which ultimately led to his decision to call Brisbane home.
It was while managing Alice’s Rock House Cafe at the Brisbane Expo in 1988 that Sandro met the â€˜luv of his life,â€™ Angela, whom he married and with whom he now has three beautiful kids.
After the Expo in 1988, Sandro teamed up with local hotel/pub group Weller Hotels to embark on an exciting new venture called â€˜Fridaysâ€™ at the Mooloolooba Wharf and Murphy’s Seafood Restaurant. He managed that venture for over three years. After a short time stint running Trawlers Seafood Restaurant, Sandro decided it was time to venture out onto his own and establish his own restaurant. In 1994, Sandro opened the doors to Avanti CafÃ© and Pasta, a move which became a defining moment in his life.
Avanti CafÃ© and Pasta has become an institution in the Brisbane cafe and restaurant scene for its consistent high quality meals and unprecedented value for money. This busy and fast paced Italian cafe serves fresh, generous, top quality meals along with the most extensive pasta menu you have ever seen! Fast, attentive and enthusiastic service combined with Brisbane’s most reasonable prices, and a funky & original layout makes Avanti one of a kind.
Some of the dishes include:
RAVIOLONI AL GORGONZOLA – A combination of gorgonzola and Danish blue cheese with a dash of cream
SANDCRAB LASAGNA – Layers of sandcrab & spinach bÃ©chamel sauce, topped with roast almonds & parmesan
PENNE AI 4 FORMAGGI – Tasmanian blue, mature cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan cheese
And this recipe, for Aussie Pumpkin Soup, which Sandro has shared with The Food Channel.
It is advisable to book on the weekends as Avanti CafÃ© and Pasta is a fast paced casual environment that can be enjoyed as your local diner or as a restaurant to bring international guests.
Avanti CafÃ© is a BYO and licensed restaurant and is located at 63 Macgregor Terrace, Brisbane Australia.
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