How hotel executive chef Vincent Cani is bringing families back to the dinner table
Vincent Cani wasn’t holding on to the past when he was furloughed from his career in March. He was looking towards the future and at the endless possibilities life just served up to him. Cani, or Chef Vinny as he’s known by his friends, was the executive sous chef at a big box resort in Orlando when he was told he was 86’ed- or in other words, furloughed indefinitely. Rather than sit and ponder when (if) he was going back to work, he decided he would do something sweet and take his wife Emily (then fiancé) out on a coffee date.
This wasn’t an ordinary coffee date, as the couple was able to reflect inwardly on what this time “off” meant to both of them. They talked through the self-discovery they both were processing as individuals and as a couple. The foundation for turning the page started with reminding themselves who they were at the core. For Vinny, he realized so much of himself had become defined by his job. He had allowed a title and co-workers to create an identity for him for so long, centered around “performing” at work due to his unique combination of culinary talent and customer-facing charisma. It was time to peel back the layers of the onion to uncover the attributes about himself that he felt connected with. He found humility, compassion, artistry, love, security, and of course charisma, however on his own terms. These are what reorientated his purpose.
It was during this afternoon at the coffee shop EvolVinfoods was born — a brand that focuses on food and families. The name of their brand brings meaning and unity to them as the “E” represents his wife Emily and the “VIN” represents Vinny, all wrapped into one of his favorite concepts, the evolution of food.
“We decided it was time to reorient our lives and focus on the things that mattered most, bringing families back to the dinner table,” said Cani. “We realized after being on furlough that we had a different way we view food. That story was very relatable and we want to share it with other people, especially during these times.”
EvolVinfoods is a growing social media brand that focuses on creating memorable family moments through the power of food, culture, and cooking. After a few short months, their brand has evolved from simple Facebook live episodes, then layering in Instagram, and finally (following the request of their growing audience) they’ve turned to a bigger platform. On their Youtube channel, EvolVINfoods, you’ll find Chef Vinny co-hosting with an ensemble of family members, including his daughters and wife to show viewers how easy and fun it can be to cook together. Straight forward and delicious recipes like the Bavarian griddled hot dog or goat cheese gnocchi can be found on his channel.
For Chef Vinny, food culture has so much meaning behind it. “Food is not merely an element of survival,” stated Cani. “ It’s the basis of identifying one's culture. In my house, the dinner table was the ‘sacred’ meeting place for the family. It was where you were taught the disciplines of life along with experiencing the joy that comes behind a meal that my mom would spend her entire day preparing.”
As a viewer, you’ll find new twists on classic dishes, as well as their interpretations of several ethnic infused dishes that represent their culture. As the son of a Sicilian father and a Ukrainian mother, he loves featuring flavors and ingredients that tell a story and reflect his background. You’ll also enjoy seeing how he layers in Emily’s Arabic roots in his cooking to create unique hybrid offerings. “This is how WE eat,” you’ll hear Chef Vinny say almost every episode, “and we want to share it with you.” Their favorite aspect of building this brand? Working together, as husband and wife.
Yes, the videos will give you a full tutorial on how to cook amazing meals together, but Chef Vinny shares an underlying message through his love of food. “It’s about feeding your family but at the same time teaching them [your children] morals and knowing whatever separated us in our daily lives, food had the power to reunite and bring us all back together.”
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