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Signature Host: Chef Fabio Viviani

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He’s charming, fun, has an Italian accent – AND he can cook. It’s no surprise that Chef Fabio Viviani has a large audience of admirers and was voted “Season 5 Fan Favorite” following his several appearances on Bravo Network’s wildly successful reality show: “Top Chef.” Born in Florence, Fabio has become famous for his Tuscan dishes with a Florentine flair. We can’t wait to have Fabio as Signature Host for our October 22nd Athens to Rome sailing, so to tide you (and us) over until then, we sat down with the witty chef and asked him some questions:

You have had great success in your personal and professional life – both your charm and talent have made you a household name. Do you take your fame in stride or is it still surprising at times?

People’s reaction to me is still surprising.

What is your favorite dish to make?

My Grandma’s roasted chicken with lemon and thyme.

On the popular television show “Top Chef,” Season 5, you were Fan Favorite. How has the show changed your life?

Exposure – lots of exposure. I showcased my cooking and made new friends.  I have also been able to take advantage of new opportunities.

How would you describe the philosophy of Florentine cooking, and how have you embraced your roots in your own career?

I have never left my roots and they are very well showcased everyday in my cooking.  My Grandmother was my inspiration. About 80 percent of what I cook is from family recipes that date back 200 to 300 years. Fresh soups, salads, breads, pasta, meat and fish.   I have two Italian restaurants which focus on simple, laid-back Italian comfort food based on the philosophy of Florentine cooking – Café Firenze Restaurant and Martini Bar in Moorpark, California and Firenze Osteria in Toluca Lake, California.

How often are you in the kitchen at your restaurants?

Whenever I am not traveling I am there. I host cooking classes at my restaurants as well.

When you’ve had a rough week and are craving comfort food, what is your go-to dish?

I enjoy simple, comfort food like chicken fried steak or traditional Italian or American comfort food dishes.

A celebrity in your own right, what is it like to be the personal chef for other celebrities?

I enjoy cooking for everyone. Celebrities are just like everyone else—I have friends that aren’t celebrities and friends that are. William Shatner is a good friend.

What three ingredients are ALWAYS in your kitchen?

Olive oil, flour and eggs.

What do you enjoy doing when you have time off from your busy schedule?

Since I don’t have a lot of time off, I try to catch up on things that need to be done at my house and of course get some sleep.

We are looking forward to having you as you Signature Host on our Athens to Rome, October 22, 2011, sailing on Wind Surf where you will be conducting a lecture, Q&A session and cooking demonstration.

I can’t wait—I love interacting with people. For those cruising, please bring lots of questions and be ready to have fun!

We are giving away a signed copy of “Café Firenze Cookbook, Mangia e Bevi,” by Fabio Viviani & Jacopo Falleni, so leave a comment below to be entered to win!

  • Raghav Modi

    Great article. I love the cover of the book. All the best on this new chapter in your life.

  • http://www.cruisemaven.com Sherry

    Great interview – I know this will be a fantastic cruise with him!  And..I’d love to feature Fabio’s recipes on my blog (with credit to Windstar Cruises of course!)

    • http://www.windstarcruises.com/blog Windstar Cruises

      Thanks Sherry – We’ll be in touch with you via Twitter!

  • Christie R.

    I absolutely love Fabio and would love to win his new book “Cafe Firenze Cookbook, Mangia e Bevi,”

  • Pat M

    Love love love Fabio!  My favorite top chef contestant EVER!

  • http://profiles.google.com/cemahoney Colleen Mahoney

    Fabio is the best!

  • Thisenvy

    I would love a copy, Fabio! Love you too! :D

  • Metalbabe73

    I love Fabio !! and would LOVE to win his cookbook!!!

  • Suzanburruel

    Fabio is my favorite Top Cheftestant next to Richie of course. The bromance between them was the best thing I ever saw!

  • Dani

    Love Fabio!! And really would love to learn how to make some gnocchi! :)

  • Colleendmultari

    Omg….I think I need to book this cruise!

  • Angelsea437

    Fabio, full of personality, love his humor, and his cooking is great!!!   thank you!

  • Bpblaze

    This trip sounds heavenly and all the better with Chef Fabio!

  • Arwmrt

    I wanna go cruisin! : )

  • http://twitter.com/snlfan100 Margaret Edwards

    fabio is hilarious!! :)  

  • Laura

    I like this article. I wish I could go in the cruise!!!

  • Ad Prinsen

    Chef Fabio is brilliant – coupled with an absolutely amazing cruise… what more could any at-home-chef need for fantastic inspiration in our own kitchens?

  • Snixen

    Sounds like an amazing cruise!

  • Pixiehran

    We just got back from the Rome to Athens cruise on Wind Surf. OMG … best trip of my life!

  • http://twitter.com/tinymango lae

    brilliant idea!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AmyMarie619 Amy Brown

    Nice.. I just love cooking Italian

  • Riley74

    Love him!

  • Stephm729

    Beautiful travel and delicious food–could not get better!

  • Patty Moss

    Just booked 2 more Windstar btb cruises for 2012 today, so now we can start dreaming/planning being back onboard the Windsurf. Love to win cookbook!

  • Scott Schmautz

    Sounds like a great time! Hi Fabio!!

  • http://twitter.com/lynned1111 Lynne DuGuay

    My daughter’s favorite Top Chef…and she’s only 10!! This would be a fabulous birthday gift for her.

  • busymom4kc

    As a member of “Team Fabio” it’s so good to see him get the recognition he deserves. Down to earth, really caring, outstanding chef! Begging hubby to take me on a cruise for years but he’s not so keen. May see if my mother wants to go w/me sometime. 

  • Sky

    This cruise will create amazing memories for all your senses…

  • shivah

    Always one of my favorite chefs!

  • http://twitter.com/evico evico

    Awesome interview!  Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AmyMarie619 Amy Brown

    Sweet I love watching Top Chef and all that….

  • http://www.hinessightblog.com Hines-Sight Blog

    That will be a fantastic cruise.  Would love to go, but be happy with the book, too. 

  • Susan

    He’s handsome and he knows how to cook! Too bad he won’t be on our Venice to Venice cruise on september10th. What guest chef will be with us? I’d love his book as I’m trying some new dishes for a big Italian dinner party!

  • Estella miller

    this is such a great giveaway! Love Fabio! he should have been Top Chef! Follow on twitter as @wins4me

  • Linda

    Would love to win

  • Ingemar

    would love to win

  • Melinda Singer

    Please enter me into the sweepstakes.

  • Dave Levin

    Cooking my favorite, next to eating.

  • http://twitter.com/MyBestFareFindr MyBestFareFinder.com

    Fabio = the real Top Chef! Hope you have a happy and wonderful Mediterranean sailing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Ticknor/1396281656 Thomas Ticknor

    Would love to try the recipes in the book from an amazing Chef.

  • Amber

    Love you Fabio!

  • http://cruisemuse.wordpress.com/ CruiseMuse

    Fabio, I am smelling what you are cooking! Please deliver

  • Anonymous

    This is going to be a great voyage. Both a great cruise and a fabu chef.

  • http://www.windstarcruises.com/blog Windstar Cruises

    Congratulations to Susan R. for winning a signed copy of “Café Firenze Cookbook, Mangia e Bevi,” by Fabio Viviani & Jacopo Falleni!

    Thanks for all who commented, & stay tuned for our next giveaway!

  • Caps332005

    I love your cooking recipes and have tried alot of them.  Thank you, now my family thinks I am a good cook.  lol  You’re cute too !