*Enjoy the above video of Chef Viviani preparing the perfect olive oil cake!
This year’s Teddy Bear Affair is calling-upon the land of pasta and vino to bring guests an evening of Italian decadence. And who better to create a mouth-watering Italian menu than Chef Fabio Viviani, who has also starred on Top Chef and Top Chef All Stars, as well as owning multiple restaurants across America. Born and raised in Florence, Viviani has a can-do cooking attitude that he’s shared on multiple live television series and his web series Chow Ciao!
In preparation of TBA 2014, we spoke with Chef Viviani about all things food:
Children’s Aid Foundation: How did you get started cooking?
Fabio Viviani: My family, we were [living] in poverty, so we had food stamps and I had to go to work. My mom got really sick, I had to work, and that’s when I was 11-years-old and it brought me into the culinary industry because I found a job at night time. It was the first time I had a job.
CAF: Did your mother and grandmother have an influence on your cooking?
FV: No, my mom was working three jobs, we had no money, and my grandma was in a wheelchair and couldn’t reach the stove. Although they did teach me a few dishes, I really got inspired by working in the business rather than enjoying my family’s [meals]. We had no money to buy anything, so the food we had was pretty bad and not very much.
CAF: You moved from Italy to California to begin your own restaurant. What was that transition like?
FV: Well, I sold everything I had in Italy and I came to the United States in 2006. I really didn’t speak a word of English, so it was a bit of a shock, but I’m a do-er. The rest is a recent history.
CAF: Any tips for people who would like to make their own pasta but are scared to try?
FV: Yeah, you need to buy a food processor and it’s going to take you about three minutes. I’m not kidding, it’s like a 180 seconds from the moment you crack the first egg to the moment you actually start to roll the pasta.
CAF: Do you have a favourite meal that you’ve created on Chow Ciao?
FV: Every single meal on that show, I’ve enjoyed doing and picking your favourite meal is like picking your favourite child. I love fresh pasta, which I could eat all day every day.
CAF: Your new cookbook is coming out in October. What can we expect?
FV: The first book I did was Fabio’s Italian Kitchen, which is everything I love about this country with my own spin and twist. There’s a lot of American classics, there is a lot of Italian classics, but everything is widely available in the United States and things that [most] people have heard of before. It’s food that America loves.
CAF: Lastly, you were in Canada last year. Did you get a chance to try our national delicacy of poutine?
FV: I adore poutine, but I didn’t have the chance to go out for dinner because every time you guys get me there, I’m in and out.
Hopefully Chef Viviani will be able to indulge in some cheese curds, gravy, and fries when he’s in town this November!
Don’t miss your chance to experience an all-Italian meal created by Chef Viviani at this year’s Teddy Bear Affair! Click here for details.