People have a feel-good experience and that means the world to me

By Frank Cucca

An interview with Federico Fuoco the owner of Federico’s Supper Club

Federico’s Supper Club is one of the Best Italian Restaurants Vancouver has to offer, where guests are treated to a combination of authentic Italian Cuisine and welcoming hospitality, served up in an old school atmosphere complete with live music and dancing Five nights a week. With your host Federico Fuoco, and other house entertainers performing nightly, the Supper Club has also become home to a variety of monthly social events, including featured guest performers, world class throwback tributes, food and wine experiences, and more. Awarded Italy’s prestigious Quality Seal Certification and multiple Diner’s Choice Awards, guests enjoy fresh simple ingredients and dishes that reflect old-world Italy with a contemporary twist.

 

Marco Polo Where did you grow up, family, schools, etc.
Federico Fuoco I grew up in the heart of Little Italy in Vancouver, 2nd and Commercial. My cousins lived on the same block. I have a lot of fond memories growing up in that area. It’s where my roots are from.
Marco Polo You started performing at a very young age with your father, can you recall how old you were when you first performed in front of an audience?
Federico Fuoco I was blessed to grow up in a musical family, watching my father, brother and sister and the rest of my father’s band practice and perform, and thus a passion for music happened instinctively. I started playing the drums when I was 5 years old and then my sister suggested that I try singing as well, and at 7 years old my father started taking me to his gigs to sing a few songs a night. I instantly loved it-the connection with the audience, the band, the music-I was hooked.
Marco Polo You were influenced by an era of music growing up, whom are your favorite performers and music?
Federico Fuoco My father is a wealth of all musical styles, and hence I grew up appreciating many genres of music, such as old standards, Italian traditional, Latin, rock ‘n’ roll, contemporary, etc. and listening to singers such as Claudio Villa, Nicola Di Bari, Dean Martin, Sinatra, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones, The Beatles and of course, Elvis.
Marco Polo You have entertained many in the Italian Canadian community, can you tell us some of the events that you enjoyed entertaining over the years?
Federico Fuoco I’ve been blessed to perform at many Italian weddings and banquets, being part of many wonderful celebrations. Other memorable moments would be opening up for Umberto Tozzi at the Orpheum, and Italian Day celebrations in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and the interior.
Marco Polo You established Federico’s Supper Club back in 1999 on Commercial Drive (Little Italy), what gave you this idea and concept?
Federico Fuoco I wanted to create a place where people could come and spend a whole evening of dining and dancing and experience the hospitality that I’ve been accustomed to thru my family. I also wanted a place of my own where I can sing the music that I love and share that with others.
Marco Polo Do you feel that it has been a success and can you keep it going?
Federico Fuoco Well, I’ve been in business for 19 years and still counting. The greatest reward is when people come to my restaurant and at the end of the night they tell me, I can’t recall when I’ve had such a great time. As long as I keep getting comments like that I’ll keep it going.
Marco Polo Would you change anything if you had to do it all over again?
Federico Fuoco The restaurant business looks glamorous from the outside, but it is a very difficult and demanding business. Therefore, the one thing I would change is that I should’ve listened to a lot wise advice that successful restaurateurs, and others, gave me at the very beginning. It would’ve of saved me a lot of grief and headaches.
Marco Polo Your restaurant offers authentic inspired Italian cuisine, what are your favorite dishes?
Federico Fuoco I love my pasta, meat and poultry dishes.
Marco Polo A combination of Italian heritage and an iconic era of music and yesteryear nostalgia today represents an awarding business for over 17 years. What continues to give you that energy and passion?
Federico Fuoco I feed off of the crowd; if they’re enjoying my performance then it gives me the energy and passion to go on and perform. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
Marco Polo Do you ever get tired of entertaining?
Federico Fuoco The short answer to that is no. As I mentioned in my answer to previous question, I love the relationship between performer and audience.
Marco Polo If you were not a musician, what would Federico be doing?
Federico Fuoco I’d probably be teaching or in politics, or both.
Marco Polo You’ve been involved in Charities and Fundraising events along with major community events, can you tell us some of your favorites over the years?
Federico Fuoco Some of my favorites would be playing for the Michael Cuccione fundraiser banquets, Children’s Hospital events, Cancer fundraising banquets, and Italian Day.
Marco Polo You have performed and opened on stage for some major musical acts, can you name a few? Whom have been your favorites?
Federico Fuoco I’ve opened up for Umberto Tozzi, Al Bano and Romina, Puppo, Ricchi E Poveri. They were all great and it was such an honour for me and my band members.
Marco Polo When did you start your F2 Productions and why?
Federico Fuoco I started F2 Productions in 2014 with the idea of bringing classic, top notch Italian and English performers that would appeal not only to my generation but to my parents’ generation. It’s a way of bringing a moment of joy and nostalgia to these two generations.
Marco Polo Whom have you had the pleasure of bringing over to Vancouver?
Federico Fuoco I’ve had the pleasure of bringing Zucchero, Umberto Tozzi, Nicola Di Bari, Gigliola Cinquetti, Amadeo Menghi, Cugini Di Campagna, Puppo, Richi E Poveri, Tony Orlando, and Gino Vannelli.
Marco Polo Any future plans, on when and whom we can expect to see in the near future?
Federico Fuoco I’m working on a couple of big shows for 2018 that I’m hoping to announce in the not too distant future. So stay tuned!
Marco Polo Do you feel that there is enough support by the Italian/Canadian Community to come and see these overseas performers?
Federico Fuoco As we unfortunately lose more and more of the older generation because of time it definitely becomes more difficult to get the numbers needed to make these shows viable. Putting on these shows is a very expensive and time consuming process, especially with the unfavorable exchange rates. However, as long as I keep getting the support from the Italian/Canadian community I’ll keep doing it.
Marco Polo What would Federico like to see?
Federico Fuoco I would like to see more of the Italian/Canadian youth become more active in our community and carry on the traditions passed along by the Italian immigrants. Those values and traditions are timeless and irreplaceable. Their legacy needs to be carried on.
A presto Federico Fuoco!
Located in Vancouver’s Little Italy on Commercial Drive (AKA – The Drive), there is something for everyone at Federico’s – a timeless and embracing factor that distinguishes the Supper Club from any other live music restaurant or Italian Restaurant in Vancouver.

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