TRNTO chats with one of Vivo Pizza + Pasta’s many talented chefs, Luigi Maresca, who moved here from Sorrento, Italy in 2011. Vivo creates affordable Italian comfort food with fresh ingredients at reasonable prices and are opening four new restaurants this year (there’s already eight in Toronto & the GTA).
What makes “real” Italian food?
Maresca: Real ingredients are the first thing. The food has to taste fresh and authentic. We never cut corners and always offer the very best ingredients in all of our locations.
I think diners would be interested to know about your background. Can you tell us where you’re from and how you first fell in love with food?
Maresca: Like many of our chefs, I learned how to cook when I was very young. In my village, everyone cooks. You can smell the sauces in the street.
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How does that connect to the dishes you serve at Vivo?
Maresca: There’s nothing I would serve to our customers that I wouldn’t feed to my family. We have to be proud of each dish that we serve.
And can you be specific about the types of food that you serve?
Maresca: We focus on traditional wholesome Italian food with simple flavours and the best ingredients. Tagliere di Salumi, Penne Arrabbiata con Salsiccia, traditional Neapolitan pizza with many different toppings. My favourite is pizza with prosciutto that we import right from Italy.
Does that set you apart from other Italian restaurants in Toronto?
Maresca: Almost all of our products come directly from Italy. You can’t serve food more authentic than us. It’s what we eat. How we live and what we love. It’s family, right?
Last thoughts to hungry diners who may be en route to your restaurants?
Maresca: We can’t wait for you to be part of our Vivo family.
1832 Bloor St W + (416) 604-7477.