Clean Plate Charlie: How did you become a chef?
Fabio Viviani: I started working when I was almost 12. I was working from midnight til 7am, then I went to school. I was working at a pastry shop 37 miles away. My grandpa was the man. He gave me an illegal Vespa. Cooking was the only thing I knew how to do. When I was 18, I managed my first restaurant. By the age of 27 before I moved to the US, I owned 6 restaurants, 2 dance clubs and a farm house bed and breakfast.
What made you move to the states?
I was bored out of my butt. I wasn't cooking anymore. I was managing people. It's hard to run a restaurant in Italy. I went straight to California because one of my business partners was already managing a restaurant in Ventura. I went from owning 6 restaurants to working at the sandwich station. In less than a year we opened our own restaurant.
What's on your plate, Fabio?
Fresh pasta. I do try to eat wiser and eat smarter. I try to eat vegetables, but after eating them I'm bored out of my ass, so I eat fresh pasta. Carrots are acceptable as food only if you live in hutches and you wait for Easter. I also don't like shellfish. I like my food dead. Not wounded, not sick, I want my food dead.
You were William Shatner's Chef for a while. What's he like?
He's always busy. He's the most interesting man on the planet. I grew up watching Star Trek, dubbed in Italian, so I thought he spoke Italian. When I told him that he almost choked. I still believe he speaks Italian, but he's testing my English. He's always traveling so I don't cook for him anymore, but we ride horses together.
What are you up to now?
Since I'm the man, I just wrote an ebook, "Did I really make breakfast?" It's the title of the book if you go on Amazon.com. I don't eat breakfast, but I would cook breakfast for you. Pancake is a little too girly for me. I like a breakfast with chorizo and eggs.
One more thing - do you win Top Chef?
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I can't tell you. You have to watch. The winner is like a Christmas present. Do you want to know what's inside your Christmas present?