South Florida Anoints Its Meatball King

The chefs for two Lauderdale restaurants competed for a good cause

Arlene Borenstein

Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani (Riviera by Fabio Viviani) was named South Florida Meatball King after winning a live cook-off against South Florida Chef Marco Vico (Café Vico in Ft. Lauderdale and Café Vico Ocean) at the Hotel Maren on Fort Lauderdale Beach. The Meatball Challenge, which took place on Jan. 11 before a panel of judges, was the culmination of a three-month philanthropic initiative to raise money for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. During the months-long competition, the two Chefs invited the public to visit their Fort Lauderdale restaurants to sample their meatball appetizers, with proceeds benefiting the two nonprofit organizations.

A judging panel decided the crown for Meatball King. The judges consisted of notable South Florida foodies, including Mike Mayo – Host of Mike Mayo’s Lunchbox, Arlene Borenstein – Former Food & Culture Writer for the Sun Sentinel, Laine Doss – Food and Spirits Writer at Miami New Times and Renee Quinn – Bites and Sips Editor at Go Riverwalk Magazine. The charity event raised $3,125 for the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation and $6,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County.

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