‘Tis true, possums, we had very nearly despaired of ever identifying the “goatee’d, vaguely toothsome lad” in the photo with Miss Universe, but last week another anonymous possum sent a tip our way, and we’re pretty sure we have our man, as it were.
Feast your eyes upon that splendid hunk of Italian beef. No, possums, no; look to your right. Eccolo. Now, the giovanotto standing next to the fine specimen is Fabio Viviani, owner and executive chef of Café Firenze, an “Italian Restaurant and Martini Lounge” in Moorpark, California, about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Granted, we’re not with the FBI or anything, but based on the comparison of a photo from Café Firenze’s website and the Miss Universe photo, we’d say it was positively the same guy.
As if by the grace of E.M. Forster himself, Fabio is a native of Florence, Italy.
But before you go all A Room with a View, cueing up “O mio babbino caro” and heading off to Porta Rossa to buy the ring, you ought to know that he’s married, to a certain Jessica (pictured below).
(Rest assured, Signora Viviani, that we mean that in the nicest, most teeth-gnashingly congratulatory, does-he-have-a-brother way.)
From 2003 to 2005, Fabio cooked at a number of restaurants in Florence, such as “Central Park, Osteria Del Angolo, or Mariposa.” According to Fabio’s blog, in 2004 he won “the Best Steak Dish at the Sagra Della Bistecca in Cortona.” His “love of cooking Italian food…comes from [his] mother and…from watching [his] grandparents cook traditional Italian dishes made from the freshest herbs, vegetables, seafood, and meats, in a style of cooking that goes way beyond just the following of a recipe. [His] grandfather says you can have all the fancy tableware and the expensive kitchen, but if you don’t have a love and passion for your food and friends to enjoy it with, you have wasted your time.”
Viviani opened Café Firenze last year, and the local paper gave it quite a good write-up. Mind you, we were left speechless by another article about Viviani in the local paper bearing the headline, “Big Love to take on Firenze’s huge steak” and starting off with lines such as, “This won’t be Big Love’s first go at a major hunk of meat” and “‘I ate the whole thing and said, “Is that all you got?”’”
Not to worry, possums. The article merely informs us that, as befits the winner of the Sagra della Bistecca, Fabio “dry-ages his meats the old-school way.” Can you blame us, possums, for developing a taste for bistecca alla Fiorentina? We have but one prayer, though: Lord, please let him not be another Ryan Scott.