Fabio’s interview from two weeks ago was such a success that we just had to go back for more. Is he really tight with William Shatner? Does he put Nutella on sugar cereal? Find out below. Of course, before the second interview could start Fabio had some ground rules…
DessertBuzz: Chef it’s DessertBuzz–
Fabio Viviani: Wait, first I’m going to tell you that you can put in writing anything you want but if for some reason, it happens, between me and you, that I let a word go, like a cursing for some reason–please do not put that word in! If you put one of those words down I ‘m going to get a call from my publicist and you gonna get one too. Then the interview gonna be locked down CIA-style! These interviews are fun and easy but let’s keep it clean–
DB: Ok agreed, clean family fun–
FV: Done, great.
DB: Speaking of clean family fun, in episode 4 the Chefs had to create desserts and a showpiece inspired by Lucent Dossier. The group had performers eating fire and sword swallowing along with a women dressed like a stripper who twirled in the air. What desserts would you have come up with after seeing that?
FV: I associate a sexy act like that with a pig–
DB: A pig?
FV: Yes, for me that whole act was a very sexy – when I see a semi-naked women running around fire that is a very sexy show. So to me, something sexy remind me of a pig, not neccessarily a dessert. So I would have done a whole roasted pig on a spit – gutted and filled with corn bread, gravy and herbs. This might not have made the judges happy–
FV: Gail probably would have wondered if I was on drugs or something.
DB: Not just Gail.
FV: But Gail is the only one that I really care about.
FV: I always really like to impress Gail so I would say something like “I understand it is not a dessert but the beauty and sexiness of the women and the fire makes me think about pig! But I am a chef so my barometer of what’s sexy or not is different from every other human being…” As I was saying all this I would probably be packing my knives!
DB: No way to make the stuffed pig sweet?
FV: Pig and sweet stuff? No. Come on man! Not unless you talking about maybe a pork belly– no that’s stretching it man.
DB: Ok, what about the quick fire challenge where the Chef’s had to create an over-the-top sundae?
FV: A funny story. My business partner and I went to Malibu to this famous sundae shoppe and I order the sundae they suggest as the best one and I get it and I ask my business partner why they put all this stuff: cookies, sprinkles, jelly beans, candy bars, and other crap on this great gelato? He says because it’s ice cream not gelato! So that was the first and last time I have a sundae. I stick with Gelato- I cannot cheat on my tradition.
DB: So what sundae would you have served the judges?
FV: I would have just scooped some gelato and put it on a plate and serve it like that.
DB: Nothing on it?
FV: No! And when they say you understand that this is not a sundae and I am going to say I understand, but you don’t mess up a good gelato!
DB: You’re dodging the dessert challenge questions.
FV: You gotta understand I am not a pastry chef. I am a horrible baker and it’s a shame since I am doing this interview with DessertBuzz! I can do some mean desserts. But man I have no patience! Baking is a science. I am not a scientist -I am a freakin artist! I can’t follow a recipe. I can’t even do a pound cake. What I can do are family desserts that require no recipes.
DB: There has been a lot of crying on Top Chef: Just desserts this season – every one of the first 6 episodes so far. Why all the crying? Does your pastry chef cry every day?
FV: No she doesn’t cry. She is a very strong little Asian woman. She has balls, big like bowling balls, balls–
DB: Wait, can I say that ” Balls”?
FV: Yes, why not? It just means she has big balls. I have seen her make a lot of men cry.
DB: Has she ever made you cry?
FV: She has never made me cry – well actually, if I am about to cry in front of her I walk away.
DB: What’s her name?
FV: Bambi. Just Bambi – it’s the only way she want to be called. She’s really good.
DB: But back to the crying–
FV: I don’t know what’s up with all the crying. Even in my season everybody was crying! Guys come on! Doing desserts is what you do for a living! You are on Top Chef: Just Desserts! Worst comes to worst they are going to ask you to make a freaking dessert and it’s what you do for a living so what the hell are you crying for? Guys, let’s man-up a little bit.
DB: So you were on season 5 and now you’re going to be on Top Chef: All Stars. Did you do any special training to get ready?
FV: I have been learning to strain broth in a blanket, I tried to make soup in a bathtub and mixed 300 gallons of whipped cream with my bare hands–dude! No, what I am trying to say is that you can’t prepare for the unknown and that’s what’s going on on Top Chef. You never know what they are going to throw at you. I trained for a bunch of crap on season 5 and I didn’t use single thing!
DB: You should write a cookbook/training manual for preparing for Top Chef.
FV: Well I’m working on a cookbook right now that actually has a lot of dessert recipes in it. But one day I’ll send you the 100 fun [and true] facts that my mother wrote down about me – that’s going to be the book! True story.
DB: You keep some late hours, what’s your ideal midnight sweet snack?
FV: A nice sized bowl of iced cold milk then fill it with frosted flakes then I put 3-4 scoops soup-spoons of Nutella on top of the flakes – then you eat it.
FV: I eat that for breakfast sometimes!
DB: That would probably kill at some downtown hipster brunch places – or maybe in Williamsburg.
DB: I recently saw the movie Kings of Pastry and learned about the M.O.F. competition in France. Does Italy have a similar award for reaching the top level in pastry?
FV: No. In Italy there are 5 cakes and everyone knows about them.
DB: Is it true that you were the personal chef for William Shatner?
FV: Yes, I worked with him for about a year and a half. He comes into the restaurant several times a month and we got to be friends and have since attended many charity events together. This guy is 80 years old and is kicking from morning until night. I mean he is big like the sun. He’s one of the most interesting people that you are ever going to meet. He’s an America icon and a great person and has done so much you can’t believe it.
DB: I read that you catered for 750 people for Glendale Memorial Hospital.
FV: We do a lot of charity – this was a black tie event, everything was sponsored by us.
DB: How big was the prep team that you brought?
FV: I had five people from my restaurant but we also had kids helping us from school. Because whenever we have an event like this we try to give the kids in school to get a feel for what the reality of being chef is. In school we spoil them, we market up the school, we tell them”oh, you’re going to be great, you’re going to be chef and make $100,000 a year” No, we going to kick your ass, you gonna be yelled at, and, if you’re strong enough, and don’t cry like chefs on Top Chef Just Desserts, you might make it.
DB: Did you ever find anyone for your restaurants from these events?
FV: Two of my business partners, my sous chef and my executive chef, one was a dishwasher 5 years ago, one was prep chef. I give them a piece of the business. It’s good karma. Karma is a great thing if you know how to use it!
DB: With Top Chef Just Desserts who’s in the drivers seat? Morgan has been doing well.
FV: Morgan is doing well. Big personality, big temper. If he can get a hold of his mouth and his temper. In show like this, people remember people they don’t remember dishes.
In Part II Fabio discusses Top Chef: All Stars and a life-threatening pie craving!- coming soon!
Follow Fabio on Twitter http://twitter.com/fabioviviani
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For Fabio Viviani’s first take: Go here.
Go here for an interview with contestant Zac Young from New York’s Flex Mussels
Go here for an interview with contestant Eric Wolitzky from New York’s Baked bakery.
For a recap of episode 5 go here.
For a recap of episode 4 go here.
For a recap of episode 3 go here.
For a recap of episode 2 go here.
For a recap of episode 1 go here.
Go here for a look at Johnny Iuzzini.
Go here for a closer look at Judge Danielle Kyrillos.
Official Bravo Bios for the judges: Johnny Iuzzuni – Executive Pastry Chef Jean Georges, Hubert Keller – Owner/Chef Fleur De Lys, Gail Simmons – Food and Wine Magazine, Dannielle Kyrillos – Daily Candy
Go here for the DessertBuzz Top Chef: Just Desserts preview page.