Published: 13:15, 07 August 2014
A man who welcomed the stars through his restaurant doors has died at the age of 89.
Victor Di Cara, who ran the popular Il Forno restaurant in East Peckham, died at the Emily Jackson home in Sevenoaks on Monday.
Born in Palermo, Sicily the son of a successful citrus fruit farmer and exporter, he was sent to be educated in England with his brother Emanuel at an early age.
The outbreak of war saw the end of the business and he found a living in London, while his brother continued in the fruit trade based in Covent Garden.
He developed a love of ballroom dancing and through that met his first wife, Bridie. An artistic man, he met his wife Guiseppina whilst training her in the art of silk screen printing for products such as Liberty scarves requiring fine detailed work.
They went on to settle in Borough Green, and later moved to East Peckham where he chose to leave painting and decorating to purchase and set up the Bake Oven, which later became the Il Forno restaurant.
As the business’ reputation grew, he was able to count among his regular customers the likes of gardening legend Percy Thrower and racing driver Barry Sheene.
He was also an accomplished interior and exterior decorator, and inspired others to go into the trade.
The business was later sold and he retired but continued to work, as a gardener for several families; making penny whistles and decorating at the Mercure Tunbridge Wells Hotel and then Maidstone with his son Dominic, general manager. His last shift was in December 2013.
He also developed an interest in wine, becoming a member of the Italian institute of Sommeliers and made his own wine – Vino Vittorio.
His son Dominic said: “He was much loved by us all. Everything he did he did with aplomb. His last words to us, when we took his favourite picture in for him, was “That picture’s crooked”.”
He leaves Guiseppina, his five children David, Stephen, Dominic, Linda and Nino, six grandchildren and a great grandson.
His funeral will be held on Wednesday, August 13, at St Thomas’s Church in Sevenoaks.
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