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City mourns the loss of well-known Italian restaurateur Vito Cataffo

By This is Lincolnshire  |  Posted: September 29, 2010

Vito Cataffo.

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POPULAR city restaurateur and TV star Vito Cataffo has been found dead at his home in Lincoln.

Tributes have been paid to the "larger than life" Italian entrepreneur, who had business interests including Gino's, Zucchini's and Fourteen restaurants.

Mr Cataffo achieved national acclaim following the Channel 4 six-part series Dolce Vito last year in which he established a restaurant serving British food in the Italian town of Bologna.

His devastated fiancee Margharita Di Maro told the Echo that Mr Cataffo – who was looking forward to celebrating his 60th birthday in November – had suffered long-term health problems, including diabetes, and his health had deteriorated lately.

Mr Cataffo was found dead at his home in Stonefield Avenue, Lincoln, yesterday.

Ms Di Maro, of North Hykeham, said: "He was an amazing character and larger than life.

"I cannot imagine him not working in Gino's and can't imagine going forward without him.

"Since the TV series wherever we went people would say they loved the show.

"He always carried on right as rain as if everything was fine but was quite ill.

"We met when I had the Cobweb gift shop near Gino's and I was outside having coffee. It all took off from there.

"He was such a well-known character wherever he went.

"I always knew that one day I might have to face something tragic happening to Vito but it's still shocking when it does and I don't know how I'll deal with it."

IN YOUR ECHO: A tribute to a popular city character.

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    Pasquale, Foggia (Italy)  |  October 06 2010, 8:46PM

    I have just heard the very sad news about Vito. I had the enormous pleasure of meeting and introducing Vito to my friends here in Southern Italy and I remember the great days we spent together and the spirit he brought to the conference we took part in together. We will miss his great personality and humanity. My thoughts are with his family and Margherita. Rest in peace Vito.

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    Peter Harrison, Venture Signs Ltd, Lincoln  |  October 03 2010, 10:57PM

    We were all saddened & shocked to hear of Vito's passing. Lincoln has lost a true entrepreneur, a great business man who was Gino's through & though. We had many great times, & heated arguements over the years, but that was Vito. He kept you on your toes & was admired for it. The words 'chef!! chef!! will echo only now as a memory, as he used to get your attention. Condolences go out to all the Cataffo's, Di Maro's & family... you have lost a Legend

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    Simeoli family, Sleaford  |  October 01 2010, 11:13AM

    We had the privelege of meeting this lovely gentleman in the summer whilst dining at his Sleaford restuarant. He went out of his way to make time for us, made us feel welcome and even summoned a round of drinks to our table. We were touched by his manner and his kindness and were incredibly saddened to hear of his passing. Our condolences to his fiancee, family and friends. RIP Vito.

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    A Resident, Somewhere Up Hill  |  October 01 2010, 12:45AM

    @ Des O'Gray I share your sentiments, sir.

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    Kenneth Glendinning, London  |  September 30 2010, 1:31AM

    It is with great sadness that I convey my sincere condolences to all of Mr Vito Cataffo's family and everone else who knew and loved him. I had the privelege in the mid-80s of being a close friend of both Cataffo brothers, Mario and Vito (AKA 'Peter'). Hard taskmasters, they commanded respect for their sheer professionalism and unique 'manic' brand of dynamism. They touched the lives of so many, creating unforgettable memories. Cousin Vitorio over by Caserta (also a restaurateur) exuded the traditional Cataffo warmth and charm, obviously passed down from father to son. You left your mark, Vito. God Bless.

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    Mark Dickinson, lincoln  |  September 30 2010, 12:29AM

    Condolances to his grieving family. A true enigma Vito's passion was legendary, i had as many warm conversations with him as i had screaming arguments, passionate, obstinate, flamboyant, arrogant, brilliant and darn right infuriating. You may of been hard work vito but the world was a more interesting place with you in it, Rest in peace

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    Tania Middleton, Kent  |  September 29 2010, 10:00PM

    Big loss to the community. He bought joy to all that met him. Thoughts are with the family and his lovely fiancée

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    Jim & Pam, Sleaford  |  September 29 2010, 7:21PM

    A very sad loss for us all in Lincolnshire. A absolute gentleman and an exceptional host. A true great; astute, kind and funny, he always remembered us by name whenever we went to his restaurants. Vito personified the word entrepreneur and we, in Lincolnshire, benefitted from that. So sad that someone so full of life should go so suddenly. Our thoughts are with those close to him. Rest in peace Vito.

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    Des O'Gray, Lincoln  |  September 29 2010, 7:17PM

    Were there two Vito Cataffo's?

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    Chopper, Brant Broughton  |  September 29 2010, 3:36PM

    Had the pleasure of having a chat with Vito most evenings when he used to pop in for a quick pint on the way back home.. One time, i poured his smooth, and i said i would top it up in a sec, when it had settled.. he takes a quick sip, well half a pint, and goes.. "there you go, top that up would you.." i was more gobsmacked, but knew that was him allover! RIP