Fabio Viviani, a "cheftestant" in this season's Bravo TV hit, Top Chef, has won the hearts of American viewers. Each week, a chef is eliminated from the show after a series of cooking challenges, but we did NOT want to see Fabio leave. Before Top Chef, you could find Fabio working hard at his Moorepark, California restaurant, Cafe Firenze. He made it to the top four contestants, and when he was eliminated, the fans were quite disappointed.
According to Fabio, the next day he received over 2 million emails, which caused the need for a new server and internet provider!
But Fabio has a lot to look forward to. According to his interview with Bravotv.com, he says:
"Lately, i've been crazy busy with the business. I am getting tons of request for licensing my image to some big company. So far I got Ducati, the company that produces all Italia motorbikes, I will launch as a spokeperson for Dr. Oetker, a new line of frozen high quality pizza all over United States. I also got a huge deal with Pellegrino water, and Gail Simmons from Food & Wine. I will be with her launching the national campaign "The Sparkling Life," plus I'm dealing also with Red Bull and Don Q Rum, and on top of this I've been requested to do all kinds of talk shows. It's overwelming the love and interest that I'm getting from everybody. I've done Ellen DeGegeneres and The Bonnie Hunt Show so far, and I have several more in line waiting, plus we are also thinking to do a possible TV show with me involved (just thinking). Without counting that I'm opening two more restaurants in the Ventura County area in the summer and i'm starting a 14-city book tour in all the major book stores around the United States in April and May for my Cafe Firenze Cookbook, and i'm working on my second book. My son is on Google: Recipes and Memories from an Italian Mom. I'm doing this with the help of my mom off course. She will tell America all the funny and sad stories and recipes that made her happy or cry since the day that I was born, so as you can see I don't have much time left for hang out with my buddy Stefan and i miss him a lots!!!! Ohhhh I forgot, I'm also almost ready to launch my Web site www.kidshealthcafe.com, in order to promote good nutrition and wellness for kids."
Why is this 31 year old, Italian chef so popular? Well, of course he is adorable. Look at this Italian face full of fun and mischief!
But for me, the charm is Fabio's "Italianess"! He seems to be very real, open, playful, warm, and appreciative. You can see how much he enjoys people, and has both a sense of style and a sense of humor. Fabio is not only charming, but he is confident, and hard working. He is positive, and believes, we should "BE HAPPY". Life is good. It is a winning combination to have a passion for cooking, and a passion for life! This attitude, his personality, and good food have taken him far in the two and a half years he has been in the U.S..
Fabio has shared a little about his background, growing up in a poor family in Italy. He began working at a young age in the back of a restaurant. As a teenager, he learned to cook at his restaurant jobs, and eventually owned two restaurants in Florence, which he sold to come to the U.S.. Clearly he is not afraid of hard work, and deserves the "American Dream" and his new success.
Like any good Italian son, he speaks warmly of his mamma and his nonna and their basic, healthy and delicious recipes, made with fresh ingredients. His simple roasted chicken won him praise from Lidia Bastianich as her perfect "last meal". His Top Chef creations looked good to me. It was NOT too much pesto on those ravioli! I could almost taste it.
I was already a fan of Top Chef, but Fabio added another layer of fun to Top Chef season 5. His good looks, adorable accent, banter with his buddy Stefan and the other contestants made this season my favorite so far. Each week his witty comments were quoted around our house. Some favorites: (insert a very cute accent)
"I am 31 years old and sleeping in a bunky bed."
"This is Top Chef, not Top Scallop!"
"Sometimes you can get kicked in the ass with your own shoe."
"Why would you eat just vegetables when you have good meat and fish?"
I am not alone in appreciating Fabio! Of course I am Italian and a foodie, so I cheered him on from the first episode of Top Chef. His fans are everywhere!
Fabio now has 2,482 "friends" on Facebook!
Well, I am older than his mother!
Yes, I will definitely drive 3 hours to Moorepark to have dinner at Cafe Firenze.
You bet I will buy the cookbook, (signed, of course).
I wish this young man all the best, and I feel sure he will stay real and not let all of this attention go to his head.
Do you have your "I love Fabio" t-shirt yet? They ship out on March 19. (from bravotv.com)
Check out kidshealthcafe.com, a website dedicated to good health, nutrition, fitness and mental health for kids!
Buona fortuna, Fabio! We will see you at your "Fan Favorite" Festa on March 20!