Mary Contini, chef, restaurant owner and author

MaryContiniBig"Both mine and my husband's grandfathers came from the same tiny Italian village in the Abruzzi Mountains in the 1920s as young lads. And the story goes they walked all the way to Scotland! Alfonso and Cesidio eventually opened icecream shops and prospered. Alfonso Crolla became the leader of the community and his business, Valvona & Crolla, was the fi rst port of call for the chain of Italian migrants who arrived in Edinburgh throughout the 20th century. It fi lls me with pride to think of the wealth of talent that originates from those remote villages. People assume Italians stick to the restaurant business, but as a matter of fact they have been shaping the life of this city through law, architecture, arts and medicine. I feel huge admiration every time I walk into The Royal College of Surgeons and look at the portrait of Professor Arnold Maran. He symbolises all of those who've become part of the Scottish establishment, becoming one of the top ear, nose and throat surgeons in the world. There are so many others.

Read the full interview in The Locals' Guide to Edinburgh


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