Fabio Viviani is returning to his flagship restaurant Cafe Firenze in Moorpark. The Top Chef fan favorite tells Ventura County Star that “We should reopen hopefully on Saturday, but it’s not official yet.” The chef’s reunification with Firenze follows a fallout last September with former partner and former father-in-law Mike Takeda. Viviani and partner/boyhood buddy Jacopo Falleni were locked out of Firenze by Takeda, who claimed the duo was expanding too rapidly towards L.A., potentially harming the existing business and supposedly violating a partnership agreement. The young partners, in turn, sued for three-million dollars and opened their own Firenze Osteria in North Hollywood. So, how did this beef finally get squashed?
Yesterday, the rift was resolved through a confidential settlement that finds Takeda no longer involved with the business and Viviani back as owner with his other partners. The full depth of the bad blood might never be known, however, as both parties are still clinging to the kind of comments like “I wish him the best” and “it was just a business problem,” that have publicly characterized the power-struggle from day one. A year later, Viviani might be down one fiancee and one partner, but he’s officially up one more restaurant. Hopefully, he’s lost S. Irene Virbila’s scrutiny as well.
Viviani’s back in kitchen at Cafe Firenze in Moorpark [Ventura County Star]