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Issue Date: April 2008

The Influentials: Umberto Fedeli

President and CEO, The Fedeli Group

Umberto Fedeli believes in Cleveland. He also believes in the power of food. Paul Dolan, Toby Cosgrove and Bernie Kosar have been lunch guests. “When you break bread,” he says, “magic happens.” And it’s been happening right in Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s office, where Fedeli has coordinated a series of intimate lunches between the mayor and leaders in town. The CEOs share their ideas and concerns about everything from the schools to the proposed Medical Mart. Jackson gets feedback on his plans. “The mayor has no ambition other than to help this city,” Fedeli says. “I also share that passion. I was born in Collinwood. ... I have five children here. I’m not going anywhere.”

Q.You’re assembling a power lunch. What’s on the menu?

A. An antipasto of mixed olives, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, hard-crusted breads and Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy. “It’s one of the best cheeses in the world.” That would be followed by soup, maybe minestrone, and a mixed-greens salad. The pasta would be either homemade or imported from Italy. It would likely be served in a red sauce (the recipe has been in Fedeli’s family for generations). Next would come either a chicken or veal scaloppini. There would be a choice of wine — Chianti, Brunello and a California variety as well. After all that, dessert would be light, either a pink-grapefruit sorbet or a pistachio gelato.

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