Having already established that Marco Polo Café has one of the stranger food concepts we’ve ever seen, we weren’t surprised when they sent us one of the weirder press releases we’ve ever read. Read the tale of owner Stefano Magaddino’s love for wife HuiHui (which comes after just a few lines about the food), and tell us whether the story of the “dumplavoli” should be made into a movie along the lines of Ramen Girl.
Stefano on falling in love with Huihui ….
“We met while I was working as a personal trainer for N.Y.S.C. at Grand Central Station and Huihui was a graphic artist working for a company located in the same complex. She was my first client and best client — never missing a workout session. After about a month — although I knew it was slightly inappropriate (a trainer should never date his client) I couldn't help myself but to ask her out. Our first date was attending a fitness expo and then a movie.
But I think the real story began centuries earlier — when our ancestors set in motion the universal forces that fated us to meet.
Marco Polo first visited the Far East while Khubilai Khan ruled the Mongol empire. For twenty years Marco traveled the Silk Road in Khubilai Khan's service eventually taking back with him to Italy a new found love of Asian customs and cuisine. Stopping briefly in Sicily — Marco shared his new found passion for Asian food with the locals there — among which was an ancestor of mine, and so the Italian part of out story is set of in motion.
Back in China — with Khubilai Khan assimilating more and more with the Chinese his association with Marco Polo began to influence Chinese thought about Europe and especially Italy.
Huihui's ancestors — artists, poets, scholars readily accepted these new thoughts and embraced the new ideas of another culture.
So through centuries this exchange of culture and cuisine developed in both our families.
Huihui's family remained in China for generations while my family arrived in New York City in 1895 to set the stage for our later meeting.
1949 — Buffalo N.Y. — Stefano born.
1955 — Hubei, P.R. of China — Huihui enters the world.
Fast forward: although earlier we were half a world apart, in 1970 — while Huihui was in high school in GuangZhou, China, never were we closer geographically, as I was stationed in Vietnam.
I went back to Buffalo, later started law school in 1976 — at which time Huihui was in college. But now a huge step: Huihui decided to go to the U.S. to pursue a master degree in graphic art. She ends up in University of Arizona where she stays until 1989 — her next move New York City.
By this time I had given up law and been a member of a theater group in Atlanta, GA. So now its time for a young actor to move New York City.
Now, not only are we again on the same continent we are now also in the same city — unbelievable! Ultimately in the same building — incredible! And on that fateful night when Huihui was looking for a personal trainer,I was about to become the luckiest man alive.