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99 and still making pizza: Winnipeg woman sets sights on a century

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Many people look forward to retirement and leaving the rat race behind, but not Antoinetta Lomonaco. She retired from her full-time job and then started the next chapter of her life working at her family's restaurant. Now about to turn 100 years old, she's still going strong.

It's a Tuesday morning and Lomonaco is reporting for her shift at the Sorrento's Restaurant at the Caboto Centre. Her job – making pizza, and she has a lot of experience doing it.

Lomonaco is turning 100 on Dec. 11, and she still works three shifts a week at the family restaurant.

Her son, Gerry Lomonaco, the owner of Sorrento's, said his mother retired at around 65 years old.

"Basically the next day she came and started hanging out with us at the restaurant and working with us," said Gerry.

Now 35 years later, she remains side-by-side with her family, working hard on every single pizza she touches.

Speaking to CTV News in Italian, Lomonaco said she believes the sauce and the dough are the most important part to any pizza. Her goal is to make every single one perfect.

"Before for she was like Chef (Gordon) Ramsay and now not as much," Gerry said jokingly. "No, she was always really good. She was pretty calm and patient overall."

The spry 100-year-old doesn't have to be encouraged to come work at the restaurant. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

"She gets up in the morning and her first question is, 'Who's going to come and pick me up to go to the Caboto Centre?'" Maria Bruni, Lomonaco's daughter, told CTV News. "If she could, she would be here every day."

Bruni said working at the restaurant has been great for her mother, giving her opportunities to walk around and be active. It's great for the rest of the family too.

"Not too many people get that luxury of going to work somewhere and having your whole family there and that's what she liked the most about it," Gerry said.

Antoinetta Lomonaco (centre) sits with her family. (Source: Jamie Dowsett/CTV News Winnipeg)

As for Lomonaco's secret to 100 years of healthy living? Bruni says her mother has always had a hearty breakfast in the morning and a good meal in the evening.

"And she also has to make sure she has a glass of wine with her meal. That's a sure thing," Bruni said with a chuckle.

Lomonaco said instead her secret is being happy and staying around family. 

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