Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

W.O. AS SPEECHWRITER

I ghosted this for my pal Gerardo Bruno, the hard-
working and colorful owner of San Pietro (where all the
Wall Street guys and moguls hang out), to deliver upon
receipt of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Istituto
Di Cultura Italiana) Young Entrepreneurs Award on
December 15, 2007.

Your Excellencies, fellow honorees, and distinguished guests.

You honor me. You honor my family. You honor my brothers, Cosimo, Giuseppe, and Antonio, and you honor all my associates at San Pietro and Sistina. And I am grateful for your kindness and generosity.

I’m a child of Italy, with a father who, to this very day, produces olive oil and grows his own tomatoes in the hill town of Monte Corvino Rovella.

My friends in New York have sustained us at San Pietro for fifteen years and at Sistina for twenty-five years. In my profession, that’s a pretty good run!

I learned my trade at the famous Culinary Institute of Italy in 1976. But I believe my father’s instruction, at his table and in his vineyards, led to our remarkable success here in America.

Our first distinguished guest, His Majesty Juan Carlos of Spain, was followed by captains of industry, cardinals, archbishops, cabinet officers, and ambassadors. Indeed, I think we’ve fed most of the Roman Curia during their visits to the great city!

We also entertained my shy, modest, retiring friend Mr. Donald Trump. And the honorable Mario Cuomo.

Tonight, as we are surrounded by great art and the genius of centuries, I’m reminded that we came to this country as seekers. Most of us started as busboys or dishwashers. The other honorees and I were young men, and our only baggage was the integrity of our artistic souls.

Our stewardship here in America has been graced by an innate sense of hospitality and our Old World manners. From the very

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