Viviana Varese

Salerno - Campania

Viviana Varese 2023 09 08 16 59 40

Born in Salerno and having traveled around Europe to gain the necessary experience for success, through her VIVA group, she has accomplished her ambitions: Viviana Varese was named the Best Female Chef in 2010 by Identità Golose and the Champion of Change by Restaurant in 2021. Among her many initiatives is the MICHELIN-Starred restaurant "Viva," located on the second floor of Eataly Smeraldo in Milan. Her other ventures in Noto, as well as her project "Io sono Viva Dolci e Gelati," are equally impressive, embodying social and environmental ethics.

Born in 1974 in Salerno, Viviana Varese showed an interest in cooking from a young age while helping in her family’s seafood trattoria. However, her aspirations took her away from Campania to learn and grow: in 1995, she was at "Mediterraneo" in Piacenza for an internship, followed by another at "Albereta" by Gualtiero Marchesi in Franciacorta. She also spent time with the Roca brothers at "El Celler De Can Roca" in Girona, all in the quest to solidify her experience. In 1999, she opened her first restaurant near Lodi called "Il Girasole."

Then the providential encounter with Sandra Ciciriello led to the creation of "Alice Ristorante" in Milan in 2007, later renamed "Viva," which enjoyed resounding success. In 2010, the Gambero Rosso Milan guide named Viviana Emerging Young Chef of the Year, and Identità Golose awarded her Best Female Chef. A MICHELIN Star followed in November of the next year, and in 2014, the restaurant moved to its prestigious location on the second floor of Eataly Smeraldo.

Viviana has never stopped aiming for the best, proven by the accolades that fill her: in 2015, she became a board member of the “Le Soste” guide and chef Ambassador of Expo Milan. Four years later, she participated in The Grand Gelinaz event and was named among the 50 Best Discoveries by Restaurant. In 2021, after the pandemic, she was named among the 50 Best for Recovery and won the Champion of Change award from Restaurant, in collaboration with San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, to support the restaurant sector's recovery following the health crisis.

Viviana also launched "Villadorata Country Restaurant" and "Viva Bistrot" in Noto, Sicily. Managed since 2022 by former sous chefs from "Viva" in Milan, these kitchens focus on quality ingredients and promote sustainability and local biodiversity, even collaborating with social cooperatives like "Si può fare" in Noto and "Eta Beta" in Bologna. "Villadorata" has also joined the SlowFood chefs' alliance, and both restaurants fully embody the ideals of Good, Clean, and Fair.

Never stopping her studies and experimentation, since February 2022 Viviana has also been offering sweet delicacies through "Io sono Viva Dolci e Gelati," even available via e-commerce (her formative years included pastry courses: she completed a master's course in dessert cooking in Rome under Maurizio Santin and at Cast Alimenti in Brescia with Leonardo Di Carlo.) The women-led project aims not only to delight but also to give independence, security and hope for the future to the team of women who have experienced various forms of physical, psychological, sexual, economic violence, and stalking.

Today, the VIVA group also includes catering and banqueting services, cooking courses both in-person and online, team-building programs, and show cooking at their Eataly location.


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