Last night on Top Chef 5, we said a sad arrivederci to Fabio Viviani. In the true sense of the word, though, he told us to get used to his face because we would be seeing it again. Today we spoke with Fabio about his time on Top Chef 5, his prediction that Stefan would take it all, and the special connection he had with Padma Lakshmi.

Despite the loss, Fabio was exactly as upbeat and humorous as he’d been on the show. He said he’s not the kind of person who wastes a lot of time being unhappy. He said his father and grandfather always told him that if he has a problem, and there is a solution, act on it and “don’t bitch about it.” And if there is no solution, what is there to bitch about? Just get over it.

It’s clear his family is incredibly important to Fabio, and has shaped his character and his sense of humor. He says they are the kind of family that lived paycheck to paycheck, so as an adult, he’s made pretty happy by simple pleasures.

They also appear to be quite a source of amusing anecdotes for Fabio. He laughed that in Italy, chefs are not on TV unless they’ve committed a crime or something, so he couldn’t really get his mom too much into the fact that he was on TV every week.

That’s not to say she’s not proud of him: he said she called him excited when she found him on Google, although she didn’t seem to grasp that this was a search result and not an actual website itself. He said that she started proudly printing out the page results of his name in the search results.

As to his time on the show, he’s still a little feisty when it comes to Martha Stewart calling his polenta gray, and protesting that she didn’t even taste it. He also jokingly blames French-Italian rivalry for the criticism he received from Jean-Christophe Novelli.

Even after seeing Stefan’s lackluster efforts again last night, Fabio maintains he thinks Stefan is the one to take it all. He is yet another competitor to confirm that Stefan in person is more likable than the one we’ve been seeing on screen. He says the two of them hang out in real life and he just seems to think Stefan is a great guy.

He has respect for the judges, and said that Padma was a “sweetheart” with a great palate. He said she actually spoke Italian with him at times, having spent part of her early career in Italy. Fabio recalled seeing her on TV there long before she was a TV star here.

Overall, he feels happy with how he was represented on Top Chef 5, not seeing that he was edited into someone else.

While most of us could probably use the help of an editor to shape us into the most interesting version of ourselves, with Fabio, the raw feed is pretty much just as entertaining. Despite the loss, his spirits remained high and he kept the group laughing throughout his interview. He mentioned that his future plans might include more TV, but personally, I think there should just be a Fabio Channel online. It’s hard to accurately convey how seriously charming and entertaining this guy is even in real life.  It seems like you could simply put a camera on this guy and just let him keep talking.  It would still be more entertaining than a lot of stuff out there.

His abilities as a raconteur are even more impressive when you consider that he just really started learning English about two and a half years ago. He notes that when he was unexpectedly put in charge of a kitchen only a few months into time here, he would spend hours trying to learn vocabulary as he tried to order food for the restaurant. He notes he learned mainly through getting his “ass kicked.”

In addition to the possible TV stuff, he’s also going some licensing here and back in Europe, working on a cookbook, opening more restaurants, and starting a nutrition-focused website : www.kidshealthcafe. Check it out for more Fabio and also look for his restaurant in California.

– Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist.  Check out what I’m cooking this week on!

(Image courtesy of BravoTV)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV