Home is Where Spike's Business Is

Spike talks about his latest restaurant venture, Bernaise.

What completely blows my mind, is not just having the opportunity to chat with the greatest chefs in the world at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, but the fact that these amazing culinary pioneers want to meet me too. I am still baffled. It’s beyond humbling to have such influential chefs interested in saying hello and catching up on the culinary scene in D.C. Who would have ever thought?!

In classic Spike fashion, I overslept and missed the 5K in Aspen. There is no way to spin that. Time management has never been my strong suit. It’s actually genetic. My entire family runs on a different time zone than the rest of the world. But, let’s blame my oversleeping on the Aspen food coma. The food is just that good.

Being invited to speak on a panel with Jacques Pepin, Tim Love, and Ming Tsai was a great experience. We have all fallen into the food television realm differently, so it was interesting for me to sit with all of them and understand their perspectives on the influence of television on a culinary celebrity. It’s funny because I started off on Top Chef thinking I needed to be a character. I wore a fedora to stick out. To this day, people still see me as the fedora guy. I go to events and people give me fedoras. I have a stack of fedoras in my closet that is taller than I am. Clearly, the fedora was memorable!

My Aspen getaway was amazing, but coming back to D.C. was nice. I immediately jumped back into Béarnaise mode. Béarnaise is my new restaurant that I will be opening up in D.C. with my sister Micheline. My buddy Brad, who can cook his ass off, is such a great asset to have on the Béarnaise team. Béarnaise, a steak-frites restaurant, will be located just a few doors down from the original Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill. Brad and I met up with one of my good friends (and Top Chef alum) Mike Isabella when I got back. It’s always good to hang out with other chefs, talk shop, drink, and eat. Mike and I both bought custom-made Honda Ruckuses this year. I told him that I was buying a Good Stuff Eatery custom bike and Mikey, always an original, followed suit with a custom Ruckus for his baby, Graffiato. Since then, we’ve gathered a decent-sized D.C. crew of Ruckus riding chefs. So, Washingtonians, stay safe on those sidewalks! Some pork-loving chefs have been spotted in packs roaming the road on 50 ccs.

My entire family got together when I returned to D.C. Having everyone over and cooking some delicious food is always a blast. My mom and I sometimes bicker over who really is the chef in the family. The woman has talent! As much as I like to talk a big game, I learned everything I know from that woman. My mom is the ultimate chef and I seek out her opinion constantly, especially now when my sister and I are opening up a new restaurant on our own.

 

Go Team Fabio!

Fabio Viviani learns from his fans.

 

Hello, everyone! I am sad because I have really enjoyed these blogs and the live-tweeting with #TeamFabio. Each person who comes to me at an event to tell me how much they enjoyed one of my recipes, I LOVE YOU! Thank you for supporting me because I would not be here without you.

My time on Life After Top Chef has taught me so much. The fans have spoken and helped me realize that I can relax a little bit to take time for myself. Dean Schaeffer has really been helping me with this. I cannot stress how important it is to take time to reflect on your own life. I am not saying that you have to go worship crystals in the desert, but you can take time in your life to meditate on what is bothering you. I find that it gives me clarity and is really helpful.

Spike came through with his connections in D.C. this week and decided to call in the big guns, the Italian Stallion in the chef world, to cook at the event for kids. Of course I accepted -- I never would have dreamed in a million years that I would be here cooking for the First Lady! So my sadness about the end of LATC is immediately met with an excited nervousness. Do not get me wrong! I was not nervous about cooking for the First Lady as much as I am about being on Team Blue with Richie. This guy is a nervous wreck! Richie! You do not have to worry -- this is what we do for a living.... Did you know that you won Top Chef?! 

It is OK because being a chef is not always about the food. Most of the time it is about solving problems without the customer knowing that there was ever a problem in the first place. So if today I need to manage Richie’s stress about the event, I can do that because if I can’t be the top chef, I can be the favorite -- I’m OK with that. Are you, Richie? Ha!

We were all honored to be a part of the First Lady’s plan to provide nutritional food to kids in school. I have heard horror stories about the food that is served in the school lunch programs. It is important for the children to get a healthy meal, and I have seen the plastic cheese they put on top of cardboard pizza. These are the future rulers of the world, people! Don’t you think we should feed them properly?

Everyone’s Life After Top Chef has been a huge success in my cookbook. I wonder what there is to look forward to in my Life after Life after Top Chef. I know that it will be exciting. One thing I have really enjoyed is the feedback that I get from my fans here on the blog and especially during the live-tweeting during the show. But just because the show is ending, it doesn’t mean that you cannot get a hold of me anymore! I try to answer every one of my fans whenever I get a few minutes to hop on my Facebook or Twitter, and I have a new cookbook coming out next year! Go #TeamFabio!