Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Taste of Rome

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Taste of Rome

Article excerpt

Byline: By Pete Bainbridge

Pasqualino Fulgenzi, head chef and owner of Roma Italian Restaurant, on Collingwood Street, Newcastle, is 65 years old, an age when he should be putting his feet up, but his eyes flash with the spirit and life of a much younger man.

He still has the energy to work seven days a week, which he feels he needs to do, to ensure the city's oldest Italian restaurant keeps up the impeccable standards that have been enjoyed by customers, which include the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier, and Albert Finney.

It's an understatement to say that Pascal knows his trade. From an early age, he knew he would be a chef, and has been in the industry all his life. Before moving to Britain in the early 60s, he worked in Switzerland, Germany, and in his home city of Rome, from where his restaurant takes its name.

As a young man in the late 50s, Pascal learnt his trade at the Hotel School in Rome, then went to Switzerland to work at the prestigious Zurich Savoy Hotel.

"I was always happy to learn," he says. "I wasn't bothered about money, I just wanted to learn all I could from the best people at well-known and well-respected places."

And for nearly 40 years he has been the head chef of such a place; well-known and well-respected.

Pascal came to Newcastle in the early 1960s, after working as a steward in the merchant navy then as a chef in Bath. Following a stint working in restaurants in the city, and a couple of years at his first restaurant, Dante's, in Low Fell, Pascal opened Roma in the heart of Newcastle in 1965.

He was here long before the likes of modern pizza bars and fast food, and has witnessed the rapid growth of the city.

"Newcastle has changed a lot", he says, as his specialty, chicken Pascal, sizzles in the pan. "Now it's all fast, fast, fast. Why are they in such a hurry? People should take time to eat. …

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