In Memoriam: Carlo Middione

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Chef Carlo Middione. Photo by Daniel Bahmani via the New Fillmore.

I have a sad piece of news to share: chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, TV personality, and longtime champion of Southern Italian food, Carlo Middione, passed away on September 26, 2022, at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He was 86. He was an early and proud ambassador of authentic Southern Italian food and culture, especially in our town of Toscani. His incredible culinary concept Vivande Porta Via on Fillmore was a beacon of deliciousness and cozy rusticity for almost 30 years, whether you wanted to swing by for one of their iconic eggplant sandwiches at the counter, or sit down to a homey, soulful dinner. It was a treasured neighborhood spot. (He also opened the splashier Vivande Ristorante at Opera Plaza with his wife Lisa back in 1995—I’d always think of him many years after it closed when I’d drive by the Roman “mouth of truth” entrance on Golden Gate.)

In 2007, Middione was tragically involved in a car accident that caused him to lose his sense of taste and smell, which then led to him closing Vivande Porta Via on New Year’s Eve 2009.

I posted about his passing on Twitter, and it was sweet to see people share fond memories of him. One of my favorite pieces ever written about him was by his former sous chef Mark Fantino, who wrote this wonderful homage on New Fillmore back in 2015. You’ll enjoy reading it.

Grazie, Carlo, for all the memories and hospitality and contributions to our culinary culture. You touched so many people with your kindness, enthusiasm, and expertise. Now you can be at the table with Lisa once again. Rest in Pasta.