If you don't know who Fabio Viviani is, this dreamy Italian was a contestant of very popular Bravo Series Top Chef. This season five contestant may not have won the title but did win the hearts of watchers everywhere. Since the show has ended, Fabio has been busy running his popular California restaurants along with opening one up in Chicago. He has also been coming out with cookbooks, apps, a web series, and appeared on Bravo's Top Chef spin-off Life after Top Chef. While swiftly becoming a household name Fabio is also a very passionate advocate of children eating healthy. We are fortunate enough to have the chance to talk to Signor Viviani, one of my favorite top chef contestants of all time. We talked about everything from his new cook book, his passion for helping children, to his crazed addiction to Nutella. Now make sure you picture his answers with a heavy Italian accent, so that you can get the full experience! OK here we go!
First I would like to thank you so much for taking the time out to speak to me and my readers! I know you have a crazy schedule!
MG: Top Chef is kind of intense to say the least, and you did it twice! What did you take from that experience other than the celebrity status?
FV: Top Chef was what I do for a living so what I really learned was that you have to try something new but always stick to what you know.
MG: I know you do not have any children of your own right now, yet you are a hardcore advocate of kids eating healthy. Why are your feelings so strong about this?
FV: In Italy, diabetes and heart disease is for the elderly. Here in America you see it in kids and young adults. It's insane! I feel that America has done so much for me that this is a way to give back.
MG: I also saw on Twitter that you recently visited children in the hospital, which is awesome. Is that something you do often?
FV: I go once every other week or so and I try and give back as much as I can. It is one of the hardest things for me to do as well, to see these kids in such poor health. But if I can bring a little bit of happiness, a little bit of fun to these kids' lives, I have to do it.
MG: For a busy mom it is pretty easy to take shortcuts when it comes to meals. What staples should every mom have in her house and on her shopping list to keep the kiddies eating healthy?
FV: In Italy there is a saying "the dirtier your hands the cleaner your body." Meaning that as close to the ground your food comes from the better it is for you. As long as you always have organic flour and organic fruits and veggies you are good. The more wholesome the ingredients, the better for your meal and you!
Really though as long as it doesn't come out of a bag you are doing OK. The whole "Fast Food Nation" is where the problem really lies.
MG: I've read that you have been cooking since you were 12. How can we encourage a child who shows an interest in cooking at home?
FV: Get a teaching plan. Watch anyone of my videos, do any one of my recipes and do it together. You can teach your child not only how to cook but to enjoy it as well as teach them how to eat well.
MG: I heard you were a bit of a Nutella fan (fanatic? I didn't say that..oops just did) What is your favorite recipe that includes this hazelnutty goodness?
FV: Yes, fanatic, I guess I am...(laughs) When I was younger Nutella was like my only real treat, my only candy. I am addicted, it's like "crack" to me. I actually have little packets of it on me like others carry around Advil. I get pissed off in the car or something and I rip it open and eat it. It has a calming effect on me. Hey it could be worse!
As for recipes, I have some on my website, but honestly how I like to eat it? With a spoon, with my finger; it doesn't matter, I just dig into it, I don't watse any time.
MG: You are very free with your recipes between your website, the web series, TV and cook books. Most chefs keep their recipes top secret or wait to make a profit. Why is it so important to you to make your craft so available to others?
FV: It is good to teach. It is good to mentor. I had great mentors and I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for them. I like to share and to give back. I have no secrets. (When it comes to cooking!)
MG: Now, here is my QUICKFIRE CHALLENGE!!!
(Queue music now...)
Your In-laws are coming, ready to pick apart your hoilday offerings. You're busy stuffing a bird, baking a pie, and keeping the little brats....ANGELS from making a mess. Can you give me a mouth watering and easily made holiday dish that will make even your biggest critics OOOOh and AHHH at your awesome cooking skills?
FV: Ok: When cooking Risotto, replace the broth used with red wine. Then top it with Bleu Cheese and Walnuts. This is simple, delicious and goes with anything!
MG: What is in the future for the Fabio Enterprise?
FV: On April 23rd I am coming out with a new recipe book filled with my own family's recipes. Measure to measure this is what I grew up on in Italy. This is what my family, that had very low budget, would cook and be what we ate for a week. It may be a bit different than a typical American family cookbook would be. I am very excited to share it!
Once again thank you Fabio! You have made my heart aflutter with your Italian accent and my readers happy with this awesome interview! We wish you luck in your future endeavors and hope to speak with you again! We here at The Mommy's Guide will be your Mommy Ambassador! Keep us informed on what's to come, we are sure it will be great things!