A Calabrian in London. No, it’s not a secret film of the legendary Alberto Sordi, but instead the success story of Andrea Liò. A young Calabrian, a native of Le Castella in Crotone, who in 2008 decided to embark on a new adventure and moved to the UK capital. It wasn’t easy the first few years, mainly due to language problems, but slowly the dialectic has improved and consequently new roads for employment are open. About a year ago he decided to venture down a new road devoted to his region Calabria and opened a business selling typical Calabrian products. We reached Andrew by telephone and he told us about his new life in London and the great success that the products of Calabria are having across the Channel.
Let’s start from the beginning, what prompted you to immigrate to the banks of the Thames, and how has your journey been?
“There were many motives that drove me away from my beloved Calabria, first of all, of course, the lack of work, why so many leave our beautiful land. Another was also the love for a woman and the monotonous life of a small tourist village that in winter became a desert.”
You arrived in London without knowing the English language, how was that at the beginning?
“A disaster, everything seemed difficult, at work I always stayed in the back to avoid contact with the customers, but I never gave up, I studied and with time, and much effort, I have learned the language.”
What type of jobs have you done in your life?
“I have always worked in the hotel business, coming from a small town with a strong tourist vocation as Le Castella. It was the most desired work among boys. Even in London I started in an Italian restaurant, with the help of Mark, a boy from Isola Capo Rizzuto who initially helped me a lot fitting in.”
Then suddenly you decided to start a new activity, enough with depending on someone else, and you started your own business, of course obviously sponsoring the brand of Calabria:
“Yes, I had this idea for a long time, I love to promote my Calabria. I always speak to the Brits about how wonderful my land is and of course like every Castellese, I always carry a picture of the Aragonese Castle of Le Castella to show it to my clients. I like to boast about my country. A good Calabrian loves to eat and we love our own products, so I could only promote the best of Italian culinary arts.”
What is the name of your business and what is it exactly?
“It’s called Calabrian Taste, for now it is a small business located in the Spitalfields Market, one of the largest markets in London. I’m looking for, although, for a location to open a shop with a wine bar that is a reference point for all the Calabrians in London, but also for the Londoners who love good food. ”
What type of clients do you have?
“Our products are pleasing to everyone, of every Italian region and the British as well. There are many curious people who come to discover new flavours and for me there’s always a new emotion to explain the passion Calabrians put into producing these products.”