20 Questions: The couple behind that purveyor of tasty Italian-inspired treats, Non Solo Pasta, take on The Raikes Journal’s 20 Questions

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 01 August 2020 8:24

20 Questions: The couple behind that purveyor of tasty Italian-inspired treats, Non Solo Pasta, take on The Raikes Journal’s 20 Questions

It is clear that if they had to choose the loves of their life it would be family and their native Italy, but a close second is the charm and people of the Cotswolds. 

They seemed to come from nowhere to almost win the Food Glorious Food competition, sponsored by the Midcounties Co-operative, and then came in runners-up as new business of the year at the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. 

All that within six months for starting out. 

Their passion is food - Italian food especially - and they both dream one day of a big kitchen all of their own and a Bistro in Cirencester. 

But for now they are at the helm of Non Solo Pasta, one of the growing number of tantalising offerings at the increasingly exciting Five Valleys Market food hall in Stroud's new-look shopping centre. 

As restaurants and eateries nationwide keep their fingers crossed that the Government's August eating out discount scheme, which comes in on Monday, August 3, helps them leave the worst of the pandemic behind, Clara Cardillo and Matteo Conte take on The Raikes Journal’s 20 Questions. 

Pictured: Clara Cardillo and Matteo Conte at Cirencester market

Question: What is your favourite film or series? 

Answer: Forrest Gump  

Q: You’re hosting a dinner party and can invite any three guests from any time in history. Who would they be and why? 

A: Cleopatra, as she was believed to be such a powerful woman. Dante Alighieri, to talk about the Divina Commedia. Napoleon Bonaparte, because he was such an elegant military leader and someone I would like to talk to about this period of European history. 

Q: What is the best bit of your job? 

A: Meeting different people, chatting and interacting with them. We let them inspire us. We always listen to our customers, food brings people together. 

Returning customers: When customers comes back we know that we are doing a good job. 

Q: What is the worst part of your job? 

A: Tasting what we cook. You can never be on a diet. 

Q: Who was your childhood hero or the person you looked up to? 

A: My mum, Patrizia. She inspired me - she gave me my life.  

Q: Where is your favourite place in Gloucestershire? 

A: We love the Bibury, it has a certain romance and beauty to it. 

Q: What advice would you give to anyone starting out now? 

A: Dream big. Great things happen if you believe in yourself and if you work hard. 

Q: Was there a mistake or piece of bad luck which changed things for the better? 

A: Not winning the Food Glorious Food Co-Op Competition (mentioned above). At the beginning we were disappointed, but then we realised that we need to work hard in order to make things happened. We reached our goal thanks to our determination and hard work - this made us stronger. 

Q: What is your favourite piece of music? 

A: Italian music is our favourite. 

Q: What qualities do you look for in a new member of staff? 

A: Empathy, teamwork and the ability to be creative.  

Q: What is your favourite pudding?  

A: Tiramisù – of course. 

Q: Has the coronavirus pandemic changed how you see the world? 

A: We are now much more aware of the importance of our family and our customers. Having strong working relationships and a good network helped us to survive. 

Helping the vulnerable was a pleasure and something we will continue to do.  

Q: If it was in the name of pleasure – would it be car, bicycle, walk, run, swim? 

A: Walk 

Q: What is the best thing about living/working in Gloucestershire? 

A: People are open to cuisines from around the world and the produce here is so rich and varied. 

Q: If you could wave a magic wand to achieve what you wanted to at work, what would it be? 

A:  Have our own big professional kitchen  

Q: What’s your biggest frustration? 

A: the shortage of time. We need a 48-hours each day to do all we want to. 

Q: If you could start again and had to do something else, what would it be? 

A:  We are proud of what we achieved in the past two years. Being finalists of Food Glorious Food sponsored by the Midcounties Co-op and being runners up as new business of the year within the business awards in Cirencester was a great achievement considering that Non Solo Pasta was just six-months old. 

Read more: Cirencester Chamber of Commerce announces plans to hold a virtual Business Awards 2020 this autumn

Q: Cheltenham Festival, any of the town’s others festivals, Giffords Circus, Stroud Fringe, Gloucester Rugby v Bath, Three Choirs Festival, Cirencester food Festival, evensong at Tewkesbury Abbey, or Newent Onion Fayre? And why? 

A: A Cirencester Food Extravaganza would be a great addition to the Cotswold calendar. Cirencester is where we belong and we love to offer food to Cirencester families from the town.  

Q: If you had to recommend a pub or restaurant in Gloucestershire, what would it be and why?  

A: Greek on the Docks in Gloucester is one of our favourite places. Their food takes us back to Santorini any time we go 

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? 

A: We would love to open a bistro’ in Cirencester where people can try our food and our traditional products.  

Q: What would you like to be remembered for? 

A: Our food, the taste of what we offer, the typical Italian flavour you would otherwise need to go to Italy to experience  

Clara Cardillo and Matteo Conte run Non Solo Pasta, in Stroud's new Five Valleys Shopping Centre Food Hall. And 'yes', it is open for business. 

Read more: Taste of Rome comes to Stroud’s new food market

Every week The Raikes Journal champions an individual from the Gloucestershire business community through the '20 questions' feature.

We pick them on merit (but if you want to guarantee to be featured £75 will ensure that happens and the article on you goes to our 10,000 social media connections. Email:

First Published on July 31 2020.

Read more: Cirencester Chamber of Commerce announces plans to hold a virtual Business Awards 2020 this autumn