They introduced thousands of people to Italian cuisine as if they had invited Quebec into their home. Stefano Faita and his mother Elena brewed tomato sauce together alongside the business before the son decided to pursue his own niche.
Now that Elena is considering retirement at 75, will he go back to basics?
“I’m the only one in the family who could take over Quincaillerie Dante, so my mom and uncle better make me a good offer!” said Stefano jokingly. But, I don’t know…” he confides, while thinking that the stories can end, especially when they last 66 years.
Nevertheless, we imagine that the decision promises to be difficult: many Montrealers are attached to this small institution.
A story of passion
“Everything starts with passion! That is the secret of success,” says Elena.
She was a teenager when she started working at Quincaillerie Dante with her older brothers and she continued with her sister, then her younger brother and then her daughter Cristina and son Stefano.
Over the years, nails and paint have been replaced by pasta machines and utensils. But there are still shotguns in this quaint shop, which renowned New York chef Anthony Bourdain once said was the only place on earth where rabbits could be hunted, cooked and eaten! Because here, from 1993, cooking courses began to liven up the evenings.
“We saw many neighborhood hardware stores close when the big department stores arrived. That’s when my daughter had the idea to remove the hardware and focus on the kitchen tools,” says Elena.
Pasta classes and demos on Saturdays propelled the business to great success.
“That was a stroke of genius! While cooking, people saw food processors, blenders, pasta machines and later came back to buy them,” Stefano recalls.
Stars of Italian cuisine
The son and mother were invited to cooking shows, at the home of Clémence DesRochers, Daniel Pinard, Josée di Stasio and many others.
“I was 25 when I went to Josée’s show and it changed my life! Stefano remembers. It aired before the Super Bowl and I became TV’s pizza delivery boy: I lost my first name! »
Opening of a first restaurant
For the next eight years, he featured recipes in Le Journal de Montréal. And he took off when he opened his first restaurant, Impasto, with his partner Michele ten years ago. After that came Gema, then Chez Tousignant.
“Elena and I stopped working. I wanted to develop the web, needed more space and decided to leave Quincaillerie to pursue my restaurant dream,” he says.
At the same time, Stefano became a familiar face in grocery stores when his avatar became one of the IGA banner bearers.
After that, the idea of selling her sauces and pasta was inspired by Elena’s experience. Every summer they were invited to the Jean Talon market to show how canned goods are made. Many people would rather go with the sauce than pots and hours of work. Stefano and his accomplice Michele have adapted their mothers’ recipes to offer them ready-to-eat.
There are now 62 products sold in more than 1500 points of sale and in the next few years Stefano wants them to cross the American border.
Passion for cooking, yes, always. But also that of business.
Faita Forgione Foods
- Founding year: 2013
- Founder: Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione
- Field of activity : Montreal
- Field of activity: food delivery
- number of employees: 64 (including the four restaurants)
Profile of Stefano Faita
- Work : President of Faita Forgione Foods
- Age : 47 years
- Education: humanities, graphic design
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