Chef Dante Firmino Francesco Rota passed away on Sunday, September 9, 2012 in Alessandria, Italy, of complications from a stroke that occurred in June. He will be missed beyond expression of words by his wife of 59 years, Rina, and their four children; Maria (Steve), Laura (Nico), Carlo (Nazneen) and Marco (Tracey). He was the adored Grandfather of Lisa, Alex (Allie), Marzia, Domenico, Claudia, Catherine, Zachary, Cassandra, Dante, Darius, and great-grandchildren; Charlotte and Manuel.
Chef Dante apprenticed in post-war London in the rigorous tradition of French haute cuisine, working at notable and iconic places including Café de Paris and Café Royale. He was later made Executive Chef of the Excelsior Heathrow, and from there traveled the world, working abroad in cities including Sardinia, Hong Kong, and Nassau.
When he landed in Toronto, he loved the city so much that he settled there with his family. He helped open the King Edward Hotel, was Executive Chef of the Windsor Arms Hotel, and subsequently opened his own restaurants, being the proprietor of Noodles, and later Da Dante.
Although sought after for his cuisine, Chef Dante will always be remembered for the grace and charisma he exuded as he entered the dining room in his Chef whites to charm grateful guests who were always delighted to see him.
Above all, Chef Dante was passionate about family. Having lost his father early in life due to the controversial internment of Italians by the British at the onset of war, he couldn't wait to start a family of his own when he met and fell in love with his wife to be, Onorina Spano, in his hometown of Fubine, in Piemonte.
With his beloved wife by his side, Chef hung up his white toque for the last time. He was a great man and we will always miss him.
Funeral will be held in Fubine on Thursday, September 13th, 2012. Reception at his home on Via Roma #7, Fubine, Pro. (AL) 15043, Italy.
Friday September 14, 2012
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