It all started in Italy
Angiolo Livi was born in Florence, Italy. As a young man he loved to cook, helping his grandmother in the kitchen. She was a “gourmet chef” in her own right, blending her knowledge of sumptuous sauces that she learned in France with the incredible Northern Italian cuisine of Florence. She often took Angiolo mushroom hunting and he helped her in her herb garden. By her side Angiolo developed his discerning palate and learned subtle nuances of gourmet cooking, a passion that is alive and strong today.
He traveled the world several times over, studying cooking in France, Switzerland, Germany and Spain and speaks 8 languages. As a young man he worked on the Viking Princess, a passenger cruise ship that sailed around the world. It was on one of those cruises between Cuba and Haiti, that the ship was engulfed in fire and abandoned. He and three friends went to the island of Freeport, Grand Bahamas. This is where he met the love of his life, his wife of 40 years, Patricia. They lived on the island with daughter, Maria. The four friends worked there for several years, until the island gained independence from England and tension developed between the native population and the foreigners. Angiolo, his family, and all their friends left Freeport and were reunited in Barcelona, Spain where they opened two very successful Italian restaurants. Julio Iglesias, Peret (famous Spanish singer), throngs of actors and the family of Generalissimo Franco often dined at these restaurants. This lasted until Franco died; he had reigned over Spain for decades with an iron fist. Turmoil followed and when a Molotov cocktail was thrown into another Italian restaurant, Angiolo decided to “abandon ship” once again.
With a short stop in Birmingham, Alabama, where Patricia is from, he heard his friends had gone to Phoenix, Arizona. He and his wife made a trip to Phoenix to visit them and fell in love with the desert. They packed up and left Birmingham to start fresh in Arizona. Their son, Jordi, was born shortly after the move. Angiolo joined his friends to open Avanti of Phoenix, Avanti of Scottsdale, Avanti of La Jolla in California, Prego of Phoenix, and Avanti Tratoria at the Point.
After 45 years his partners have retired. All of the restaurants were sold except the original Avanti of Phoenix and Avanti Catering. The catering business has become very popular in the community, especially for large events such as Superbowl, Barrett/Jackson car auction, the Arabian Horse Show and the Phoenix Open. Angiolo is still there with his loyal staff of 35 years; the pasta chef, waiters, and office manager (his right arm). He spends many hours supervising the food, wine and service and loving every moment of it. He continues to study his craft; creating and perfecting new recipes. To this day he loves to hunt mushrooms and find ways to incorporate them into his dishes. He enjoys imparting his culinary expertise and teaching his new recipes to the chefs. Angiolo loves to entertain guests nightly and welcome them to the warm, inviting atmosphere of Avanti. He is a true Restaurateur of days gone by and still finds time to be the best husband, and father to son Jordi Livi, M.D., daughter Maria Ruttle, son-in-law Curt Ruttle, and grandson Demitri Ruttle. Leading by example, one of the best traits he’s taught his family is the importance of compassion, philanthropy (by helping such fine charitable organizations like: HomeBase, ChildHelp,Girls and Boys clubs, The phoenix theater just to name a few) and generosity; not just generosity with money, but generosity of spirit.