MILAN: 30 chefs from Italy and outside Italy joined Viviana Varese to cook for over 800 guests who turned up for the inauguration of her new restaurant in Eataly Smeralda, Milan.
VIVA is an acronym of the Chef’s name and surname and also substance, colour and life.
“We created the project around 8 months ago. My idea was to name the restaurant Viva but the communication agency insisted it should be Viva Viviana Varese. I thought it was too ego centric but finally we agreed to the name.”
“When we finally decided that the opening date would be 6 September, I created a Whatapp group and sent a message to around 15, 16 friends from Italy, Spain and the rest of Europe asking them if would cook 100 dishes during a party to inaugurate the restaurant. Most accepted including Lara Gilmore. Through word of mouth that list went up to 30 and from 100 dishes it went up to 150, 200 dishes per chef. I wanted them to also enjoy the evening so they cooked in two shifts. We ended up cooking over 6,000 dishes during the opening evening,” Viviana Varese told Food and Wine Gazette.
The chef previously was responsible for Alice (Anchovy) in the same space on the second floor of Eataly Smeraldo in Milan overlooking the splendid Piazza XXV Aprile.
To celebrate this change in Viviana Varese’s life, thirty friends and colleagues turned up to cook in different spaces on the second floor of Eataly from the restaurant to other different corners.
The Osteria Francescana team turned up with ‘girl power’ led by Lara Gilmore, Massimo Bottura’s wife together with Jessica Rosval and Karime Lopez who heads the Gucci Osteria in Florence.
The other chefs that cooked on this evening were Fina Puigdevall, Maco De Castro, Maria Solivellas, Ritu Dalmia, Enrico Cerea,Isa Mazzocchi, Claudio Sadler, Francesco Sposito, Vicky Priyan, Gianni Tarabini, Andrea Besuchio, Vittoria Aiello, Gianluca Fusto, Alice Delcourt, Andrea Aprea, Salvatore Tassa, Pasquale Torrente, Maria Luisa Zaia, Ugo Alciati, Zahie Tellez, Annalisa Borella, Marcello Parisardi, Eugenio Boer, Kamal Mouzawak, Tommaso Pardo, Fabio Mazzolini, Cesare Battisti and Franco Aliberti.
Franco-Italian artist Kelly Joyce accompanied on the piano in her jazz recital by Two Ciavarella added warmth and atmosphere of the evening.
Despite the rain, artist and friend Marco Nereo Rotelli lit up the opening night with a special site installation and performance created especially for the chef.
The work brings to life the very essence of the chef’s philosophy through words that will become poetry like sustainability, sharing and synthetic city. This site installation by Marco Nereo Rotelli, famous around the world for his installations in major capital cities will continue after the inauguration to illuminate the square for the benefit of the city of Milan and its people.
Viva opened its doors to the public on Friday 6 September.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 12.30pm to 2.30pm and from 7.30pm to 10.30pm.