October 9th
Joe Selvaggio and Aldo Ottavini

October 9th was a big day for us, as we interviewed two great Italian men in Detroit. We started with Joe Selvaggio, founder of Point Dairy Distribution Company We arrived at the Nino Salvaggio Market in Troy at 5:30 am to set up. Nino was Joe’s nephew. We hung enlarged photos of Joe and Nino around the set, which created an eerie scene for an interview, but our best one to date. Joe arrived shortly after 7 am, and we got to hear the history of how his businesses got started, as well as Joe’s life during World War II, and his immigration to America. We finished the interview just in time as customers were arriving to buy produce. We quickly packed up and went to our next shoot.

Our next interview was Aldo Ottaviani, master chef of Andiamo Restaurants. Aldo has a long history in the restaurant business in Detroit. Aldo comes from Rome, where he also met his wife, who coincidentally was an American tourist. They married a month after meeting, and Aldo went with her back to America in 1948, while she taught him English. They opened “Aldo’s Restaurant” in 1950 selling pizzas. Joanne worked the front, and he worked the back (the food). Joe retired years later, and immediately after, Joe Vicari of Andiamo hired Aldo as Head Chef in 1990, and has kept that position for the past 16 years. It was great hearing the story of this remarkable chef and that marks another great interview for “Our Italian Story”