You talked about your mom being sick. How is she doing?
The show is kind of exaggerated a little bit. My mom is not dying. She has a problem that she cannot move her hand. Her body produced too much calcium and the bone in the wrist is calcifying. It can’t be cured. Every six months she needs to have a surgery or else she’ll be completely paralyzed. It’s an expensive and stressful thing. But she’s hanging in there.
Is she proud of how far you got in the competition?
You know what? She doesn’t even know what’s going on. She know I’m on the show, but it’s hard to realize your son is on national TV because in Italy we don’t have these things. In Italy, if you are going on TV, it’s because you killed a whole family somewhere or you robbed a bank. So it doesn’t really happen that you are on national TV for something good. My mom, she was very happy. She told me she saw me on Google. And I told her, “Mom. I’m not on Google. Google is a search engine.”
Name one food you cannot stand.
Cilantro. I hate it from the deepest of my heart. And if one day if I’ll be filthy rich. I’m going to buy 20 acres, I’ll grow cilantro, and then I’m going to fly over with a combat airplane and drop an “m” bomb on the field and blow the whole thing up.
Pick your favorite fast-food restaurant.
In-N-Out is pretty good. “Animal style.” No pickle. I hate pickle too.
So you have a cookbook deal?
Yes, I have a cookbook that is coming out in April, a food and mixology book. One of my colleagues at the restaurant is a great mixologist. It will be at Wal-Mart, it will be everywhere. And what it talks about is how to do easy, stress-free Italian food, pairing with martini instead of wine.
You said you needed the prize money to take care of your mother. Is she going to be okay without this money?
The fact of my mom has been a little bit misunderstood. She’s not dying, she has this problem in her hand. She’s very young, she’s 47, and she has this problem [with] the bone and the cartilage in her wrist, they’re falling apart because there’s something wrong with her blood. She’s not going to die, but she had to quit the job that she was doing. I support my family every month.
A lot of viewers think you’re “the cute one.” What makes you cute?
I think an accent does its good part. And then, you know, my mom is telling me all the time that I’m the cutest person ever, so I guess my mom is right.
Do chefs make good lovers?
Chefs make great lovers, 'cause if you don’t please them while you’re having sex, you please them while you’re making dinner. I please them in both cases.
You know, she was speaking straight-forward Italian to me. She started in Italy as a model, she was on this TV show there, so I was actually looking at Padma way before she was tasting my food. She has a great palate. She’s a model, not a chef, but she’s very personable and we had a good time together. She’s very fun.
Were you worried about coming off as an Italian cliche?
Well you’ll have to tell me what an Italian cliche is. I left Italy because there were too many Italians, so it’s nice to be one of the few here. I think I represented my country well. Look, I’ve only been speaking English for 2 1/2 years. I had to rent the last season of Top Chef on DVD because on TV I couldn’t understand what they were saying. [Amuse-Biatch Editor's Note: This is a little odd to us, since, as far as we know, Top Chef isn't actually available on DVD.]
What are you up to now?
I’m getting a lot of offers, being asked to do TV shows, license my image on a line of cooking products, so all kinds of things. I hope you liked my face, because unfortunately, you’re going to be seeing a lot of it.
Another TV show! Tell us more.
Aaah, I can’t say yet, but let me just say - Watch What Happens.
Seriously. The Fauxhawk? Really?
I’m a chef, and chefs are a little like rock stars. Every summertime for the first day of summer, I dye my hair blond. Blond-blond, like Pamela Anderson blond. And then when the blond is gone I get the fauxhawk. I like to change things up. I know the pink scarf, fauxhawk thing is not really American masculine, but I’m Italian, so I don’t give a damn.
Friday, February 20, 2009
The Fabio Viviani Exit Interview Roundup, Part 1: He Hates Cilantro, Likes In-N-Out (Animal Style!), Is a Good Lover, and His Mother Isn’t Dying