When Rosa Lamanna came to Canada from Sicily 50 years ago, she started working decorating wedding cakes. Rosa and her husband Peter, originally from Monteleone di Puglia, envisioned a boutique bakery with Italian specialties. The small shop in Rouge Hill they opened fifteen years ago with sons Joe, Lorenzo and David, has expanded three times and become a destination for the food savvy. In addition to sought-after cakes and pastries, Lamanna’s Italian Bakery, Café, Fine Foods and Catering Company now features a traditional tavola calda or hot table with pastas and sandwiches, espresso station, gelato bar, pizzeria, and deli.
“The heart of the business started with mom. The original recipes are traditional Italian style, and we stay true to it. Sauces are made fresh every day, all day. At the same time, we are constantly searching for inspiration and draw references from everywhere.” – David Lamanna
Lorenzo trained in food service in Sicily. Joe spent years in the food industry including working with corporate food giants such as Loblaws. David is a University of Toronto Scarborough graduate, with a degree in management and economics.
The family business has grown to some 35 full and part-time staff. “Our core staff has been with us from the beginning” says David, “Our pastry chef owned a pasticceria [specialist bakery] in Sicily. When they say it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something, it’s true.” Peter and Rosa are still in the shop full time, although past the age when others consider retirement. “It’s a labour of love for them,” says David. “They are still passionate about the business.”
From wedding and birthday cakes to special occasion treats, it is safe to say that a generation of Scarborites has grown up celebrating with Lamanna Bakery. “It’s amazing to see the people in the community as the business has grown through the years,” says David. Their clientele is a reflection of the neighbourhood, with confections available for Chinese New Year, Greek Easter and Eid al-Fitr.
“Everyone comes around. We’ve become a meeting place and we are so proud of that. It’s an honour to support the communities.” – David Lamanna