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Style & Living Food and Drinks

Top Chef's Fabio Viviani Has One Piece of Advice for Overwhelmed Home Cooks

The former cheftestant wants people to cook "without the headache."

By Maggie Shi

Fabio Viviani is a very, very busy man. He manages more than a dozen restaurants; he has his own line of wines, culinary products, and a fresh Maine lobster delivery service (!); he recently launched a weekly online cooking show called Fabio's Kitchen; and he's the proud father of a nearly two-year-old son, Gage.

Oh, and he just released his third cookbook, Fabio's 30-Minute Italian.

You'd think Fabio would barely have time to sleep, let alone cook dinner for his family. But that's not the case. And if he can do it, so can anyone, the former Top Chef contestant told The Feast. "It's really easy, guys," he declared. "If I can manage 16 restaurants, a new baby, a happy marriage, five different businesses outside the restaurant business, 1600 employees, still manage to take a month and a half vacation every year and cook every night at home, anybody can do it. People just don't know how."

So what's the secret to getting dinner on the table on a regular basis? "Get organized. You can make good food in no time and impress everybody," he stressed.

And that's just what he hopes people will take away from Fabio's 30-Minute Italian. It's filled with flavorful recipes that take less than half an hour of hands-on work, along with plenty of tips and shortcuts to help you manage your time in the kitchen, "like how to prep ahead, how to batch cook the proper things," he explained. "Why would you have to make one portion of something if making four will save you like three, four hours the next day?"

The fresh pasta recipe in the cookbook is a game-changer, Fabio added. His genius shortcut? He makes it in the food processor. "It's mind-boggling. You can have fresh fettuccine in four and a half minutes from scratch."

So far, fans are responding to Fabio's organized approach to cooking. "The responses are great. People love the idea of still being able to provide a good meal without the headache of it," he said.

Of course, the always-in-motion chef has a lot more in the works, including "at least three" new restaurants. And managing a toddler is a "bitch and a half," too. Fabio offered up this metaphor for his life, pre-baby: "Picture me in a pool with lots of water and I can't touch the bottom with my feet. So I'm kind of struggling to stay afloat, and sometimes on certain days the water is a little wavy…and you try not to drown. And all of a sudden you see somebody on the ledge of the pool and you think they're about to give you a hand and help you, and instead of helping you or pulling you out, they hand you a f***ing baby."

Fabio chuckled. "So that's how I feel, but it's worth it. I'd drown any day for my kid."

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