CulinaryThe Issue

Chatting Up Top Chef Fabio Viviani

By Nycole Sariol/Photo courtesy Siena Tavern

Bravo’s Top Chef Season Five summoned some very distinguishable TV personalities to its screen, plashing that touch of drama necessary for any triumphant reality show dish. Though the claws were sharp and the fights were prevalent, there was but one who maintained his cool all the while – oddly enough – stirring the pot. The Italian chef, who wore a smile more than he wore an apron, Fabio Viviani, indubitably rendered that Italian fire that melted the hearts of many during season five Top Chef New York and Top Chef: Allstars.

After nation-wide exposure on an Emmy Award winning show, it’s only natural that raved success ensues, right? Not for Fabio. For him, the show did not define his career as a chef. It merely gave him the tools to build future relationships with people whom he might not have otherwise. “My life is the same. It [Top Chef] just made it busier,” the chef told us right before he and newest restaurant, Siena Tavern snagged up the People’s Choice Award and Best Taste of Florida at the OBIES in Ft. Lauderdale.

The devilishly charming chef, who has opened California hotspots like Café Firenze and Firenze Osteria and Siena Tavern in Chicago, no doubt holds the gold belt of encapsulating the perfect chef-restaurateur combo. But those aren’t his only accolades gaining him colossal recognition. On top of multiple and expanding restaurants in the works, Viviani also has the bragging rights to some handy cookbooks like the New York Times Best-Seller, Fabio’s Italian Kitchen and another due out later this year, following the vibe of the former.

Like any good, homegrown Italian boy, raised on a nice glass of Chianti instead of a tall glass of warm milk, Viviani is expected to launch his first line of wine. “We love to drink, but we wanted to create a product that people are passionate about,” he says.

Apart from the launch of his anticipated wine line and the sequel to his best-selling cookbook, it’s the opening of Siena Tavern Miami that breaks the cooking catalyst’s chart-topping news. The sister restaurant to his Chicago location, is set to open fall of this year in South Beach’s old China Grill, between Washington Avenue and 5th. Viviani says to expect loads of color and, of course, fashion, because what’s a Miami restaurant without the duet? 

With so many whirl-winding ventures teeming around him, how does this guy find the time for a little shut-eye? “I don’t. I gave it up a while ago,” chuckles the Top Chef’s favorite season five contestant.

But in a city that welcomes sleepless nights, we expect he and his insomnia will fit in just fine here on Miami’s shores.

Click here to view post on the July/August 2014 issue.

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