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At the tender age of three, Alice Cassinelli knew she wanted to own her own business, but she could hardly believe it when she opened the doors to her cafe for the first time 20 years later.
Alice, who is now aged 23, is the proud owner of Cassinelli’s – a place where classic British dishes meet Italian flavours.
The food is already proving popular with customers who call in to the eatery, on Bank Street.
Alice said: “One example is our English breakfast, served on a bruschetta style bread. It’s a fusion of the best British and Italian flavours. We only opened at the end of November, but I would say that is the dish we sell most of. People like that’s something a bit different.
“I’m still a bit overwhelmed when I come in to the cafe every morning because I’ve wanted to do this since I was three-years-old and I’m proud that I’ve done it.”
Multi-talented Alice is not only a young entrepreneur, she is also a chef who makes all of her own bread and cakes fresh on-site, ready to be sold to customers.
“I get up at about 6.15am, but I don’t mind. We open at 8am Monday to Friday and 9am on Saturday, so everything is really fresh.”
The cafe offers diners a range of cakes, pastries, sandwiches and soup, as well as a hot food and drinks menu, and afternoon tea has also just been introduced.
It is, however, afternoon tea with a difference.
Alice said: “Our afternoon tea isn’t your typical three tier afternoon tea, it’s four courses which are inspired by the seasons.
“At the moment, we are serving our winter afternoon tea and everything has been inspired by a British forest.
“The food is made to look like different things, for example with the winter afternoon tea there are pine cones and pebbles and the flavours are inspired by the winter too.
“We aim to change the dishes with the seasons, so in the spring the focus will be more on things like flowers and there will be floral flavours. We’ll also have lamb in our sandwiches.”
For those who are following a vegan or vegetarian diet, there are also plenty of options. For example, there is classic bruschetta dish available, which is seasoned tomatoes on freshly baked handmade ciabatta with basil and balsamic glaze.
Alice also hopes to offer ice-cream in the warmer months, to pay tribute to her ancestors who came to Sheffield in the late 1800s and sold the delicious treat in carts around the West Bar area.
To find out more about the cafe, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cassinellissheff.