Leeds legend Gilda Porcelli who spent decades singing in restaurant Pasta Romagna celebrates 90th birthday

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A legend of the Leeds food scene spent decades serenading diners with her joyful operatic renditions - now she's set to celebrate her 90th birthday in style.

Gilda Porcelli opened the famous Pasta Romagna, on Albion Place, in 1950s. It is one of the longest-standing restaurants in Leeds, which, in its early days, attracted patrons from far and wide for cheap pizza and Italian tunes. In her 30 years running the venue, Gilda won the hearts of people in the city and boldly stood up to council officials who tried to put an end to her singing. And at nearly 90 years old, she's showing no signs of stopping.

Italian cookbooks, for example, were still advising readers where they could pick up rare items like Parmesan cheese in 1950s. Gilda began serving fresh pasta in her new restaurant - tortellini, ravioli, tagliatelle, spaghetti - but it did not immediately take off. Then came a revelation. 'I said we needed to start making pizza, and boom! We would make a huge pizza and sell it for a pound a slice, so anyone could have it. It was wonderful - and we would sell a lot.

 

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