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Elisabetta and Stephen Virion

Stephen began his career at age 15 working as a prep cook in a high volume restaurant in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1976, his vocation affirmed, he attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, where he built the foundation for a career in the culinary arts.

After leaving the CIA, Stephen worked at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware. Shortly, his goal to work abroad was achieved when he accepted a position at the Carlton Elite Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. He then moved to Vienna, Austria to work at the Hilton am Stadtpark, where he worked in the Michelin 2-Star restaurant, Prinz Eugen. It was in Vienna where he met and married his wife and partner, Elisabetta.

Stephen went on to work in other stand-out restaurants in Europe including serving as Chef at Villa Arceno in Tuscany, Consulting Chef at Harrods in London as well as stints at Jacques Maxim in Nice, Restaurant Troisgros in Roanne, Jean Bardet in Tours and the Hotel Ritz in Paris.

In the United States, Stephen worked at The Four Seasons, Philadelphia as well as in the position of Executive Chef at the Pump Room and the Swissotel in Chicago.

Elisabetta was born in Asiago, Italy, coming from a line of family members who were true to their regional culinary roots.

Elisabetta began her career in the wine industry having worked in Chianti, Italy at the San Felice Winery in Gaiole. Being involved in various tastings and discussions about wine, her interest in this area became a passion which is reflected in the Wine List at La Bottega.

Stephen and Elisabetta moved to Vail in November 1994 after Stephen accepted a position at the Vail Village Inn as Chef and Elisabetta served as the Manager of the Inn's Villager Restaurant which was owned and operated by Josef Staufer.

In November 1997 they opened La Bottega Restaurant which through a series of expansions and redesigns, has now become a faithful portrayal of Elisabetta and Stephen's interpretation of a Tuscan Farmhouse with stone columns, imported wood flooring, Italian tiles and other unique touches that have made La Bottega one of Vail's top dining destinations.

Just as Stephen and his cuisine staff bring the fresh and savory flavors of northern Italy to La Bottega's delighted panoply of American and international guests, Elisabetta has been instrumental in developing the loyal and enthusiastic clientele at La Bottega Restaurant and Wine Bar and is well known as both a gracious hostess and a knowledgeable advisor on the restaurant's cuisine and wines. Stephen and Elisabetta have two daughters, Stephanie and Valentina, who are both involved in the restaurant.

This is an inspired family team, with the skills, experience and commitment to hospitality that make La Bottega the ideal place to "Celebrare la Vita."

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