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Style & Living Food and Drinks

Fabio Viviani Explains Why You'll Find "Dried Salami" in His Pants (But Don't Worry, It's "Real Italian")

Plus, there's one food he'd "rather starve" than eat.

By Maggie Shi
Fabio Answers the Bravo Staff

Fabio Viviani is a passionate guy—he is Italian, after all. The Top Chef Season 5 cheftestant and Fan Favorite won over viewers with his hilarious one-liners ("This is Top Chef, not Top Scallop!"), boundless energy (he has more than 10 restaurants, his own brand of wine, and a lobster delivery company), and considerable charm.

A post shared by Fabio Viviani (@fabioviviani) on

So when it comes to food, he's got some pretty strong opinions about it. We spoke with the always-on-the-go chef about the food he refuses to touch, why he isn't a fan of peanuts (hint: monkeys are involved), and his most epic kitchen fail.

The Feast: Are there any foods you hate or refuse to eat?

Fabio Viviani: I hate cilantro in any form or shape. I refuse to touch a meal that contains cilantro; I'd rather starve myself than eat cilantro.

I'm not a fan of peanuts. I don't hate them—different from cilantro, which I hate, it's a hate feeling—I'm not a fan of peanuts and I'm not a fan of anything with gelatin in it…that is mushy and wobbly, like a Jell-O shot? I hate that.

The Feast: What don't you like about peanuts?

FV: I don't know, I used to have a zoo by my house in Florence and I used to feed peanuts to the monkeys. And I remember the monkeys climbing all over me—cute. And they used to come really close to my face and their breath smells like peanuts, so now every time I smell peanuts it reminds me of a monkey right in my face. So I don't know, I just don't love peanuts. I don't hate on them, I just don't love them.

The Feast: That's a really good reason. Do you have any guilty pleasure foods?

FV: Yes, chocolate. I love Nutella. I'm a big sucker for Nutella. Actually, I think I've been giving them free endorsements for the last 10 years because that's all I talk about and they didn't pay me a dime for it. So it's stupid on my end. I don't have an endorsement with Nutella but I still keep talking about it in every interview I do because I love it so much.

The Feast: Maybe you should reach out to them.

FV: Yeah, I tried. I don't think they're interested.

The Feast: Do you have any embarrassing food habits?

FV: I have salami sticks in my pocket most of my days. Literally, I have a handful, usually, of a hard, dry salami in my pocket and sometimes I don't finish it, I go home, I'm tired, I put my jacket away. A month later I just go get the jacket, I put my hand in my pocket and there's a f***ing piece of salami in it. So most people that conversate with me throughout the day, they will never know that I have a dried salami in my pants. [laughs]

The Feast: Is it like a Slim Jim or...?

FV: Oh no! F***ing Slim Jim, what am I, American? No! It's not a Slim Jim, it's like a real Italian salami, like little dry salami pieces in my pants and jacket.

The Feast: What's been your biggest kitchen disaster?

FV: I was 23 years old, I was very cocky, I was running a very successful catering business among other things, and we literally dropped on the floor a six-and-a-half-foot wedding cake, literally minutes before the wedding cake ceremony, the cake-cutting ceremony. Literally minutes before. The husband was a good sport about it, the wife chased one of my line cooks with a power tool. I think it was a drill. She was not happy.

The Feast: What would you eat for you last meal on earth?

FV: I would eat a lobster, I would drink a red bottle of wine, I mean, f*** it, two, it's the last meal, three bottles of wine, who cares. And then I would have two roasted chickens and some roasted potatoes.

A post shared by Fabio Viviani (@fabioviviani) on

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